Following the Guardian’s exposé of papers that allege close links between the NSA and various technology giants in the US, further details of the level of Microsoft’s co-operation with the NSA have been released.
Microsoft aided the NSA, helping them get around their own encryption systems so that the agency could freely spy on the users of all of Microsoft’s services.
These services include Hotmail, Outlook, SkyDrive and Skype. Outlook.com features data-scrambling technology that was designed to hide messages from spies and hackers. In this case, Microsoft assisted with the NSA to undo the privacy that they prided themselves on.
Microsoft is claiming that they collaborated with the NSA purely out of legal obligations. This comes amid a new advertising campaign for Microsoft with the tagline: ‘Your Privacy is our Priority’.
The exposed documents include claims from the NSA that they were able to reap 3 times as many calls from Skype than before, having improved the way they monitored the service.
These documents came from the NSA’s Special Source Operations department. They show that the NSA’s privileged access made it very easy for intelligence officers to access a multitude of accounts on Microsoft services.
As a response to the papers being published, Swedish technology innovators have set up a crowd-funded campaign to design a smartphone messaging app that will be resistant to any type of spying whatsoever. Backed by the co-founder of Pirate Bay, Peter Sude, the campaign has raised over £90,000 in less than 2 days.