In response to the Guardian report, published on July,11, which claimed that Skype has been passing user data into the NSA’s alleged PRISM surveillance program since 2011, Microsoft gave out a statement clearly denying Skype spying. It said that it does not provide any government with any access to SkyDrive, Skype or any other Microsoft product.
Microsoft stated that while responding to government requests for customer information, they keep their principles in mind. The company insisted that it only provides customer data in response to legal processes and that it would not respond to blanket orders, as described in the Guardian story. Moreover, any sort of access to Microsoft services would have affected a much greater number of user accounts, more than mentioned in the story.
The full text of Microsoft’s response to the story reads as follows:
“We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues.
First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes. Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate. To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product.
Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.”