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Microsoft Helped NSA, FBI Spy On Users


10 yrs. 6 mth. 27 days
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Microsoft has been collaborating with the National Security Agency for its internet surveillance program PRISM , according to a report.

Despite Microsoft's complaints that it can't be more transparent about government requests, the
revelations in The Guardian assert that the software company has helped US intelligence agencies
intercept web chats and emails on and Hotmail , as well as Skype phone and video
conversations. The report comes from more secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden .

Skype started integration within PRISM in November 2010, but apparently, the VoIP service wasn't
served with a directive from the attorney general compelling it to comply until February 4, 2011.

"Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system,"
boasted a document the newspaper has not yet released.

The document reportedly added that video interception has been possible since July 14, 2012. "The audio
portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying
video," The Guardian reported that the document read. "Now, analysts will have the complete 'picture'."

The NSA and even the FBI allegedly receive access to emails and chats on Outlook, which are sent over
before encryption.

"For PRISM collection against Hotmail, Live, and, emails will be unaffected because PRISM
collects this data prior to encryption," read a Microsoft newsletter.

The Redmond, Washington-based company also helped grant the FBI easier access to SkyDrive ,
Microsoft's cloud service, through PRISM.

These revelations further explain how the NSA accesses internet traffic through its far-reaching PRISM
program, revealed in early June by The Guardian and The Washington Post .

It's still unclear, on a technical level , how the program actually works, but companies allegedly
involved have strongly denied implications of collaborating with the NSA outside of responding to legal

These new documents, however, seem to run contrary to those denials – at least in Microsoft's case. And,
moreover, these revelations seem to contradict Microsoft's own claims about protecting its user's privacy.
"Your privacy is our priority," reads a company slogan. Skype has made similar claims in the past.

As reported by CNET in 2008, the company – which at the time wasn't owned by Microsoft – has also
argued that Skype calls use end-to-end encryption that make wiretapping impossible. This is a dubious
claim that has been disputed in recent years, despite Skype's denials.

In March 2012, when Microsoft released its first transparency report , Brad Smith, the company's
executive vice president and general counsel, wrote that "Skype produced no content in response to
these [law-enforcement] requests."

According to reports in the wake of the PRISM revelations, Skype had been involved in "Project Chess", a
secret program to determine how the company could cooperate with government requests.

In a statement sent to The Guardian , Microsoft said it only provides customer data "in response to
government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or

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