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Pushing Back Against The NSA, Microsoft Will Store Foreign Users' Data Abroad

Though the tech company will have to hand over user data if summoned, the physical location of its servers will make it harder for the NSA to snoop.

[Image: Flickr user andy_carter]

It seems no one is outside the watchful eye of the National Security Agency—world leaders included—but Microsoft is making it more difficult for the U.S. to snoop on its foreign users. The Redmond, Wash. company said it will store personal data of non-American users in servers outside the U.S.

"People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides," Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft, told the Financial Times.

Privacy advocates applauded the move, saying the physical location of its servers poses a challenge to illicit spying. Even so, U.S. tech companies are required to hand over user information when summoned by the courts, regardless of where the data is stored.