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July 11, 2013
Microsoft accused of handing NSA access to encrypted messages; denied by software giant
The Guardian published details that pointed the finger at Microsoft as being a close collaborator with the National Security Agency, citing a document that was not published. A system exists where the NSA was able to automate the process in which orders under the FISA and the Patriot Act are issued to data-holding companies.
Among the allegations, the files provided by Snowden seem to show Microsoft helped the NSA "circumvent its encryption" to enable Web chats to be intercepted in its Hotmail replacement, Outlook.com. The report cites an NSA internal December newsletter, stating that Microsoft "developed a surveillance capability" to deal with encryption issues.
The software giant later denied the claims, stating there were "significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked government documents reported in the media last week." Microsoft said it did not "provide or agree to provide any government with direct access to user content or the ability to break our encryption."
- Read more: Microsoft accused of handing NSA access to encrypted messages (ZDNet)
Source: The Guardian
July 16, 2013
Edward Snowden files asylum request in Russia
It wasn't much of a surprise when Edward Snowden filed paperwork with the Russian government to request asylum away from the U.S. government. As the biggest "frenemy" to the U.S., it only further outraged the West.
According to his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden "faces persecution by the U.S. government and he fears for his life and safety and that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment." But in order to save face with the Western states, Russian president Vladimir Putin warned Snowden not to further damage the country's already tepid relationship with the U.S..
- Read more: Edward Snowden files asylum request in Russia (CBS News)
Image via CBS News
July 18, 2013
Silicon Valley tech giants urge for greater U.S. government transparency
Close to two-dozen technology giants signed a letter to the U.S. government calling for the ability to disclose secretive data request figures. While Google and others already publish "transparency reports" that disclose unclassified data requests, these companies are not allowed to disclose the full amount of National Security Letter "gagging orders" handed down by federal authorities. Instead, they are only permitted to report the number range.
The group also calls for Congress to pass laws that force the U.S. government to report these figures accurately without having to first seek permission from the FISC.
- Read more: Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, others urge for greater U.S. government transparency (ZDNet)
Image via Center for Democracy & Technology