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Microsoft needs US permission to disclose data provided to the government

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The software giant is waiting for government approval to publicly disclose its delivery of customer data to national security organizations

Microsoft requested US attorney general Eric Holder to "personally take action" to permit them to share more information about the way they deal with the national security requests for customer data (AFP Photo)

Microsoft requested US attorney general Eric Holder to “personally take action” to permit them to share more information about the way they deal with the national security requests for customer data
(AFP Photo)

By Doaa Farid

Microsoft requested US attorney general Eric Holder to “personally take action” to permit them to share more information about the way they deal with the national security requests for customer data, according to a posting on its website on Tuesday.

After documents obtained by Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian newspaper revealed the co-operation between Microsoft and National Security Agency (NSA), the software giant has written to the attorney general this letter asking him to take action.

In a blog post by its legal counsel on its site, Microsoft stated that it believes that US constitution guarantees its freedom to share information with the public but the government is stopping them.

 ”Government lawyers have yet to respond to the petition we filed in court on 19 June seeking permission to publish the volume of national security requests we have received. We hope the attorney general can step in to change this situation,” Microsoft said.

The company said that there were “significant inaccuracies” in the media reports last week, and claimed that they did not provide the NSA or any other US agency any “direct access” to its customer data. Apple and Google have also denied giving direct access.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice-president of legal and corporate affairs, wrote in the post: “Microsoft only pulls and then provides the specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand.”

“If a government wants customer data, including for national security purposes, it needs to follow the applicable legal process, meaning it must serve us with a court order for content or subpoena for account information,” he said.


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