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 »

Microsoft responds to ruling in warrant case

Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith provided the following response to a federal court ruling in New York on Thursday in the company’s ongoing case challenging a U.S. government warrant for customer data stored in Dublin, Ireland: “The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process. We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate Read more »

WSJ opinion by Brad Smith: We’re fighting the feds over your email

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On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal published a column by Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith explaining why Microsoft is opposing the U.S. government’s demand for a customer’s email stored in Dublin, Ireland. As Smith writes, “This dispute should be important to you if you use email, because it could well turn on who owns your email—you or the company that stores it in the cloud.” To Read more »

Senate proposes strong privacy, civil liberties protections in USA Freedom Act

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On Tuesday, Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith released a statement praising the Senate’s efforts to enact stronger privacy and civil liberties protections in government surveillance reform legislation: I would like to thank Senators Leahy, Lee, Heller and Franken for their efforts to bring meaningful reform to government surveillance. By establishing a panel of advocates to argue before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and requiring it to Read more »

Brad Smith in WSJ interview: why we oppose government demands for personal data

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In a video interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis Berman, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith spoke about why consumer data needs to be protected from government surveillance. “We feel that one of our business necessities is to ensure that the sense of customer trust is protected,” Smith, who is also Microsoft’s executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, told the Wall Street Journal. “So it has put us 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 »