Microsoft Joins Campaign To Restrict Government Surveillance

Strike it while the iron is hot. In line with the popular saying, Microsoft has taken some very aggressive stances all through the year, and none more so than on the government surveillance programs.

Leaked documents by the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that not only had Microsoft provided intelligence agencies with user account details, but newer revelations indicate that experts with the US government secretly spied on consumers.

Most of this came down to weak encryption methods used by technology companies.

And now Microsoft wants to change things up a fair bit. Not only has the company decided to make the switch to 2048-bit encryption to secure its Internet traffic, it has also joined hands with other large companies in calling for reforms of government surveillance.

Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs talked about this in a recent blog post, highlighting how spying affects technology users:

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.

We of course want to help ensure that we all live in a secure world. We recognize that governments play a vital role in safeguarding safety for all of us. But there needs to be a balance between safety and the personal freedoms of people, especially law-abiding citizens and institutions.”

Redmond is now part of a campaign by other technology titans (including names like AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo) that demand that government should only be provided access to user details based on federal requests approved by a court.

Along with asking for greater transparency, Microsoft wants all future surveillance to only take place as part of a legal process. The company further asks the US government for permission to share more details on the requests it receives for private details of people that use its products and services.