Microsoft Spills Dirt On Government Investigations

Microsoft has published its first-ever law enforcement request report, which details government inquiries into users of Skype, Xbox, and other products.

Microsoft Spills Dirt On Government Investigations

Following months of requests from cybersecurity activists for information on state surveillance on Skype users, Microsoft has released its first-ever law enforcement requests report. Microsoft‘s report details official requests for information on users of the company’s product worldwide–this ranges from activists in China and Russia to ordinary Americans who are the subject of government investigations. According to Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, the report includes information on government queries related to Windows, Hotmail, Outlook, Skydrive, Xbox, and Office users.

In the past year, Microsoft received 4,713 requests from law enforcement around the world asking for information on Skype users. Smith says that no content from the calls were offered to law enforcement, but related data such as Skype IDs, user names, email accounts, and billing records were. Microsoft delivered similar information about users of non-Skype products in 56,388 other cases–information for these cases was primarily sought by authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, and France. Only 11 requests were made for information on enterprise customers–the rest of the 56,000-plus requests were made for information on individual users.

Microsoft, of course, is facing legal trouble of its own right now over foreign bribery claims.

[Image: Flickr user emilydickinsonridesabmx]

About the author

Based in sunny Los Angeles, Neal Ungerleider covers science and technology for Fast Company. He also works as a consultant, writes books, and does other things.



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