Friday, June 14, 2013

FBI/NSA domestic spying: how Microsoft tricked customers into complacency about Skype security

Slate doesn't think Microsoft was very above-board in its description to users of Skype's security:
...Microsoft portrayed Skype communications as totally beyond the reach of the government. Indeed, the company apparently chose to claim that it handed over the content of zero communications in 2012—while at the same time complying with a FISA surveillance program that enables the NSA to sift through Skype communications. If reports of Microsoft’s participation in secret FISA-PRISM surveillance are accurate, the company disingenuously created a false sense of security by implying that users’ communications were not being turned over to the government. Following the revelations about PRISM, Microsoft has joined forces with other Internet giants to call on the U.S. government to be more transparent on FISA surveillance. But Microsoft—like Google, Facebook, and others—cannot claim to be a passive victim in this story. Unlike Twitter, it did not push back against excessive U.S. government surveillance requests until the leaked documents were disclosed, and in some cases may have been complicit in misleading the public over the extent of the snooping.

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