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Microsoft Takes On NSA With Three New Privacy Features


Microsoft has instituted a new set of security protocols for "protecting customer data from government snooping." The news comes after allegations that Microsoft assisted the NSA by providing private data.

"Many of our customers have serious concerns about government surveillance of the Internet," writes general council and executive vice president Brad Smith. "We share their concerns. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure governments use legal process rather than technological brute force to access customer data."

In order to enhance customer security, Microsoft is instituting three features. The company will be enhancing encryption across all services, reinforcing legal protection for customers, and improving transparency to show that Microsoft products do not have back door access.

Among the included products are Outlook.com, Office 365, SkyDrive, and Windows Azure. Xbox Live and Xbox One are not mentioned explicitly, nor is Skype (which is present on the Xbox One).

The new privacy and security features will be in place by the end of 2014. Microsoft is also working with other companies to enhance the security between services, as email often passes among a number of different providers.

[Source: Microsoft via CNN]


Our Take
Microsoft, Google, and others requested that the NSA loosen its gag order so the companies could defend themselves. While this isn't a clear signal on how that played out, it does seem like a "plan B" effort to restore consumer trust. Microsoft and others need to continue to be proactive in order to maintain positive relationships with those that use these services.

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