What if? Microsoft appeal ponders U.S. reaction to foreign data demand

“Imagine this scenario. Officers of the local Stadtpolizei investigating a suspected leak to the press descend on Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. They serve a warrant to seize a bundle of private letters that a New York Times reporter is storing in a safe deposit box at a Deutsche Bank USA branch in Manhattan. The bank complies by ordering the New York branch manager to open the reporter’s box Read more »

New milestone in the conversation about electronic privacy laws

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Last December, we joined a number of companies in our industry and urged governments to restore customer confidence in information technology by reforming their electronic privacy laws. While there has been important progress, much remains to be done. Today marks a key milestone, as Senators Hatch, Coons and Heller have introduced important legislation to strengthen the protection of Constitutional due process rights and limit the extraterritorial reach of search warrants. Read more »

Digital common sense: New survey shows Americans want a better privacy balance

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A new poll we’re releasing today shows it’s not just the Supreme Court that wants the right balance between public safety and the privacy concerns of technology users. The American public wants this as well. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Riley case last month, I’ve been blogging about the historic importance of its unanimous view that police need a warrant to search someone’s cell phone. The decision shifted the Read more »

Remembering the Third of July

Amid the current public debates about government surveillance, this is a good day to step back and remember the Third of July. Of course, the first question you might ask is, what happened on the Third of July? Many Americans will recall, of course, that it was in Philadelphia at Independence Hall on July 2, 1776, that the colonies voted for their independence. And then it was two days later Read more »

The privacy week that was

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Over time, privacy protection has advanced in key moments. These have involved judges and advocates who appreciated new technologies and found ways to ensure privacy prevailed in a changing world. This week’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California ranks with other key historical moments. More than in any other recent decision, the Supreme Court this week advanced privacy in a digital era characterized Read more »

Unfinished business on government surveillance reform

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In the year since news reports surfaced about U.S. government surveillance practices, a lot has changed. And there even have been some initial positive reforms. We all want to live in a safe and secure world and governments – including the U.S. government – play a vital role in helping to protect our communities. But the reality is clear. The U.S. Government needs to address important unfinished business to reduce the Read more »

New success in protecting customer rights unsealed today

On Thursday, a federal court in Seattle unsealed documents related to an FBI National Security Letter that Microsoft successfully challenged in court late last year. This marks an important and successful step to protect Microsoft’s enterprise customers regarding government surveillance. Because information about the case wasn’t public until today, this is our first opportunity to discuss it in detail. Given the strong ongoing worldwide interest in these issues, we wanted Read more »

We’re listening: Additional steps to protect your privacy

Last Thursday, news coverage focused on a case in 2012 in which our investigators accessed the Hotmail content of a user who was trafficking in stolen Microsoft source code. Over the past week, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect further on this issue, and as a result of conversations we’ve had internally and with advocacy groups and other experts, we’ve decided to take an additional step and make an important Read more »

Providing additional transparency on US government requests for customer data

Today we are updating our transparency reporting to provide new information relating to governmental demands for customer data.  Beginning last summer, Microsoft, Google, and other companies filed lawsuits against the U.S. government arguing that we have a legal and constitutional right to disclose more detailed information about these demands.  We contended that we should be able to disclose information about legal orders issued pursuant to U.S. national security laws such Read more »

Time for an international convention on government access to data

Last week, President Obama spoke about the role of the National Security Agency and announced some important changes to the surveillance practices of the U.S. government. We appreciate the steps the President announced, which represent positive progress on key issues including privacy protections for non-U.S. citizens. There is more work to do to define some of the details and additional steps that are needed, so we’ll continue to work with Read more »