Like other large technology companies, Microsoft also squarely finds itself in the spotlight as part of the PRISM scandal. Recent reports have claimed that the company provided direct access to user accounts to the NSA (National Security Agency).
The company explained its stance on this affair, saying that it does not provide direct access of user account data to intelligence agencies, pointing out the fact that it offers requested information based on legal demand — which it obviously is required to by law.
Brad Smith, the general counsel & executive vice president of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, explained in a lengthy post that Microsoft, along with other companies, is willing to share publicly more complete information about how national security requests for customer information are handled.
He says that Microsoft is more than ready to release these details on these requests, but the government does not allow the company to issue a public point of view.
He has asked the Attorney General of the United States to personally take action to obtain permission:
“We believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us. For example, Government lawyers have yet to respond to the petition we filed in court on June 19, 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.”
Smith reiterated that Microsoft does not help the NSA (or any other intelligence agency for that matter), to get around encryption methods and directly access private user details.
In the end, the company has called for a higher level of transparency in this regard — pointing to the US Constitution in order to be allowed to share more details on its collaboration with the government.