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BLOG: How much privacy will you have with Microsoft's 'family of devices'?

Ms Smith (via Network World) | July 15, 2013
After collaborating with NSA and FBI to offer surveillance for Skype, SkyDrive,, even circumventing its own encryption, how much privacy will you have with Microsoft's upcoming 'family of devices'?

Microsoft + Skype =
In fact one document dated a year ago, July 2012, claims that Prism monitoring of Microsoft-owned Skype now includes video chats. "The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete 'picture'."

Another document, dated April 2013, claims the FBI worked "for many months" with Microsoft "to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive."

Microsoft said it does not provide "blanket" or "direct" access to "any government" for all its products, but only provides customer data "in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers." The company added, "When we upgrade or update products we aren't absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands."

Yet Microsoft has a long history of spurning users' privacy in favor of assisting law enforcement and intelligence agencies obtain private user data. For example, Microsoft-unlike other tech giants-does not charge the government even a penny for surveillance of its users. Besides spying on its users for free, the Redmond giant offers the computer forensic software COFEE for free to law enforcement; COFEE assists LEA in extracting private data from Windows computers.

Microsoft new security policy for apps
Regarding the future of Microsoft, Ballmer promised that "Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most."

I suppose privacy is not usually described as an activity, but don't expect to have any privacy in Microsoft's cloud and "family of devices." Microsoft may offer privacy features to users in its upcoming family of "phones, tablets, PCs, 2-in-1s, TV-attached devices," but not before making sure those features are cracked to assure they are not kept private from intelligence agencies. After all, Microsoft isn't "absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands," so how could any new products not come with built-in backdoors to assist in surveillance by intelligence agencies?


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