Microsoft defends handing NSA access to services following The Guardian's latest PRISM report

Microsoft has defended itself following a report revealing how it helped the National Security Agency to spy on users of its services.

In response to information published in The Guardian claiming that the company handed out access of encrypted messages to the NSA including encryption codes to unlock the Outlook mail system before it was even launched, Microsoft claimed that it had “clear principles” across the company to respond to Government demands when it came to legal enforcement and national security.

“First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes,” the statement continued.

“Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate. To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product.”

The statement concluded by explaining that product upgrades and updates followed ‘legal obligations’, which may require information to be provided to a request from legal or security enforcement.

“There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.”

Meanwhile the original whistleblower behind the leak of NSA information and its PRISM data mining strategy, Edward Snowdon has reportedly requested a meeting with human rights groups in Russia where he is thought to be residing while attempting to avoid arrest and extradition to the US to face charges.

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