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Microsoft fights back against the National Security Agency - fortifies their security

Many people have had their trust shaken by the United States National Security Agency’s involvement with top technology companies around the globe including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and many more. To this day, many people still feel at least a bit of lost faith towards the aforementioned technology giants and any personal data that they may hold.

The paranoia can be seen in Microsoft’s release of the Xbox One and its Kinect accessory – there was a vocal, but visible, minority that screamed the Kinect could be used by the NSA for spying purposes. But recently, Microsoft has announced major plans to increase encryption techniques on their own internet traffic to keep users more secure.

With reports of the National Security Agency’s project MUSCULAR snooping into the private networks of Google and Yahoo, Microsoft feels that one line of defense that they can provide is increased encryption. Microsoft isn’t the only one trying to combat the NSA’s snooping with an increased in security, they will be joining the ranks of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, who have already done so.

A few officials from within the United States government have released statements. While the official statement from the NSA tells us not worry, other anonymous US officials have told us to be concerned.

A spokesperson from the NSA responded to Microsoft’s actions by stating:

“NSA’s focus is on targeting the communications of valid foreign intelligence targets, not on collecting and exploiting a class of communications or services that would sweep up communications that are not of bona fide foreign intelligence interest to the U.S. government.”

An anonymous US official (a source of the Washington Post), stated that “the collection [of data] can be done at various points and does not necessarily happen on a company’s private fiber-optic links”. In other words, you can beef up your defenses, but the NSA will always find a way to get the data they need.

Microsoft’s general counsel, Smith, stated that the latest shareholder meetings put an emphasis and focus on creating a stronger and more secure network for the company.

“We’re focused on engineering improvements that will further strengthen security,” Smith said, “including strengthening security against snooping by governments.”

While those familiar with Microsoft’s plans going forward are uncomfortable speaking without the condition of anonymity, the Wall Street Journal was able to confirm that there have been “high-level” meetings within the company to discuss stronger encryption “across the full range of consumer and business services”.

Major corporations are gearing up to protect their data, along with their users. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook, and AOL, have called for limiting the NSA’s ability to view and snoop into private data.

Microsoft has not been at the forefront of security, but the company intends to turn those intentions around with the latest bits of news and documents provided by Snowden on exactly how far the NSA’s grasp goes.

Do you feel secure when using Microsoft products – what is your view on the future of your personal data’s security in the cloud?

Source: The Washington Post

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Reader comments

Microsoft fights back against the National Security Agency - fortifies their security

69 Comments

This story is total BS all and I mean all electronic device are given back door access period. So this is just a PR spin......

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” - Benjamin Franklin

You're opinion is contrary to the founding fathers of your country. You should feel ashamed.

can you explain what "freedom" are we giving away by letting the nsy spy on us? tell that to the chinese republic's spying agency, nobody is stopping you from doing things, they just wanna know what it is

Oh yeah, they just want to know and not do anything with that information.

That's how it starts.  Do you seriously think that China is simply watching their citizens?  It is illegal to criticize the Communist party there.  China filters the internet to ensure it's population stays ignorant of criticisms of how their country is run so they don't start a revolution against it.  That is NOT freedom and the NSA is one step closer to that reality in the US. 

Read a book.

Geez man relax. Its not like everyone who disagrees with you is insulting your first born or mother. The beauty of democracy is that everyone can have different opinions and the freedom to expressed them. I think the fact people here are interested in this topic, shows some level of intelligence. Stop insulting others who do not agree with you, for all you know they might be more educated than you. Instead, you should ask how that person arrived at said conclusion. Now you brought an interesting and obvious point about how this is how it all begins. You are right. However, this situation is hardly new. Its just that now we are becoming fully aware of it. History shows that democracies acquire extraordinary powers during war times. Is just that sometimes, those powers were never relinquished once the objective was met. Are we there yet? No one knows for sure, but its worth discussing.

We are not at war. The "war on terror" is not a declared war and is no more a war than the "war on drugs", etc. The WOT is just being used as a justification for spying. The East German government had its justification for the STASI, the Soviet Union for the Cheka, and the Shah of Iran's SAVAK. The DHS and CIA are heading in the same direction.

Do a little research on the mass detainment facilities being built and militarization of local police departments and the laws being put into place for no protesting without a permit. It is obvious where this is going.

The problem with ideologues is that they think they have an answer before looking at all the facts. Thus, they take all the evidence and reformat it to fit their own paradigm. If you come from the idea that someone or something is already evil before looking at all the pros and cons, then there is no point in having a discussion. Look, I'm not defending the govt, I'm just pragmatic, and I don't believe in rainbow, unicorns, and conspiracy theories

This is exactly what they want you to think. Fascist governments always use this as their justification. Where is the line drawn? Wherever they want it to be. Do you really not see where this is going? Is this the America you have known all you life?

"You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows." ~ Bob Dylan

They are not really interested in your 360 noscopes but rather a threat to the nation like someone plotting to murder the president or such. You're fine.

Unless, you play games which may be defined as dangerous 10years from now. Then they will probably get back to you... so better you avoid doing anything that could be interpreted as a national security thread nowadays and in future. Unfortunately you do not know how your actions today are interpreted by leaders of tomorrow. So seemingly unimportant data can become dangerous in the future. Nobody should have access to all data. Especially not the government.

nation, plotting, murder and president...NSA have picked up your comment and mine as well due to you

dude..seriusly remove it.. i have seen one guy getting screwed when he wrote one such statement... he ws from India,.. a brilliant student.. and nothinh to do with anything..i would sriously recomment u to remove it

I don't feel secure when some Chechens or Dagestans come to Moscow, Volgograd and else and explode buildings, buses and take hostages in theaters in the name of Allah or whatever. If ФСБ can prevent that using said means, they better do this. And if they see my private shots of my girls breasts trying to secure my life, come on, I don't care. Terrorism is threat, we know this here in Russia just like you, US, and I really can't understand how can you blame your NSA actions after that what happened 09/11 even after all that strange conspiracy theories about that it was government's terror.

I have. But I've got to live in present and situation have changed. Lots of new possibilities of effortless communication, travelling and logistics, information influence, resistance to information influence as well as means of mass mortification, both straight and figurative. Learning history is good but it needs a lot of sharp extrapolation.

I wonder if it's simple or contrary hard to live in the world of black and white decisions, opposite parties, left and right turns, USA and n.Korea. Have you ever heard of compromises and agreements? Or everything should be done the way it's being done in the USA now: Obama vs Republicans clashed like sheeps and government stopped?

Doesn't matter who you vote for, this is where we are right now. People act like Romney or whoever comes from the right or left will be any different, it will not. A Dem president follows the same national security roadmap as the previous Rep president, what does that tell you? Maybe it was because there is a serious threat that both parties cannot ignore? I'm not endorsing everything that the government is doing, but fighting terror is a long, long battle with many ramifications.

The war on "terror" is a sick joke to expand government power, such concentration of power has never ended well. All of you please read some Martin Armstrong and get back to me. The majority has to be wrong for trends to change.

The problem with ideologues is that they think they have an answer before looking at all the facts. Thus, they take all the evidence and reformat it to fit their own paradigm. If you come from the idea that someone or something is already evil before looking at all the pros and cons, then there is no point in having a discussion. Look, I'm not defending the govt, I'm just pragmatic, and I don't believe in rainbow, unicorns, and conspiracy theories.

Again, why only two options? Why do you, too, divide people only into them who are happy in their fanatic desire to hypertrophied freedom and to those who needs authoritative gov and big brother above?
BTW, I'm 1986, haven't caught SU, so there is nothing of it for me to be long for.

It's called "war-on-terror-paranoia". I don't know if you have, but if you haven't, go read the so called "Patriot Act". If after that you're not disgusted by the US Government, then this NSA thing won't bother you at all ;)

Well not everyone is an "ordinary person". What about politicians and journalists etc. Shouldn't you fight for their rights to and not just your own.

Quite honestly I don't trust any us-based tech company anymore. There will always be "national security" to get every information the security agencies want.

My confidence in Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc is exactly the same it was before the scandal.
I knew - and everyone who studies History and Politics knows - that the US Government is the most dictatorial "democracy" in the World. They've always spied on everyone, friend or foe. The levels of paranoia in the US Government have always been quite high. Just look at the Patriot Act. Nazi Germany or Sovietic Russia wouldn't have issued a more different document in the name of the "motherland".

What disgusts me more in this entire NSA business is:
1 - that the American companies so willingly allow them to spy on foreign citizens;
2 - that Europe and that pathetic and corrupt institution called the "European Union" did and does NOTHING to take a strong stand against the US Government;
3 - that the so called "war on terror" is nothing but a diplomatic sham to allow the US Government to keep gaining control/influence of strategic regions of the globe while violating every law on the book. If I saw terrorists being hanged by the neck, or proper action being taken to effectively make our life safer, I would be fine with it. Except nothing like that is happening (I still have to see images of Bin Laden's dead body. Until then I'm not trusting Obama's propaganda). On the contrary. Just look at those dreadful attacks in Boston. Look how easily a lunatic in the US can get hold of a gun and go on a killing spree. Where's the "we spy for your safety"?

Well, and on top of that there's the American hypocrisy. The US Government looooves to dictate to other countries how they should or shouldn't act (just look at the situation with Syria). They love to pass themselves as the Knights in Shinning Armor of Democracy. But in the end, they're just as oppressive, meddling and dictatorial as many European dictatorships of the XX century.
I wonder how long will it take for Americans to finally wake up.

If Osama isn't dead, all he needs to do is release a video stating some events that occurred recently in the news. It would be that easy to undermine Obama and further his cause. He hasn't done that. What does that tell you? Enough of the conspiracy crap.

You do realize that there's more to politics than Obama? The world doesn't revolve around the US. Bin Laden could be have been dead for years. Or could just have returned to the bosom of his sh*t-rich Saudi Arabian family. Because you know, the US doesn't dare to step inside Saudi Arabia do check. Just like they don't go into Iran. Bin Laden's cause is as alive as it was before. Worse, now it's less visible. And invisible treats are the worst kind.

The US Government is prone at attacking "enemies" as long as their "enemies" are weaker than them. And even then, they face the risk of having their arses kicked like they did in Vietnam.

"Because you know, the US doesn't dare to step inside Saudi Arabia do check." Actually, the US military has bases in Saudi Arabia and was one of the main things Bin Ladin was so upset about. The Saudis need the US military protection because they know they are at risk the same as in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain...

Social Darwinism my friend. Plus gaining those "strategic regions" benefits Europe as well. Why should they take a stand against that.

It doesn't benefit Europe at all to invent bogus wars on their doorstep that only raise the price of oil which deteriorates European businesses, brings a vague of immigrants (refugees) that Europe isn't ready to receive, and extends the distrustful relationship those countries have towards the US to other European countries.

As for Social Darwinism...it may be misplaced in the case of the US. The US is only as big as Europe allows them to be. Or Russia. The Syrian case was a perfectly good example of how a single country - Russia - can put the US back in their place and break the illusion of American Supremacy.
The day Europe does the same, the US will see their influence on the globe recede again. Luckily for the US-Government, European countries are more concerned with preserving and salvaging their own economies and social structures from the crisis America provoked than with facing the US Government.

But I'm waiting to see what will the "Union" do regarding this NSA business.

Sir DJCBS, although I don't quite agree with you 100%, personal opinions and interpretations, I do feel you bring up many good points! But I do have curiosity, do you feel Osama's cause is alive or Osama himself is alive?

I obviously don't want a camera watching my every move and I still don't understand how with all this snooping, sh*t still happens. Also, I don't mind Snowden releasing information about what the U.S. does to its Citizens, I do however have an issue with him releasing information that jeopardizes the Nation's foreign agenda.

my xbox one means the NSA can watch me sat on my sofa eating pizza & masturbating (not at the same time, usually)
if thats what theyre into, so be it.

im pretty sure NSA will open the first Cyber War then World War III. im from indonesia and i've been reading news that Australia joined with Malaysia and South Korea has been snooping our top government people (including President) and this suck when we though we already in state of peace. well, doesn't matter cause few of my friend is joined with Anonymous Hacker from Indonesia and i can get more info from him about this incident because he's with the people who hacked australian government site. for MS Yahoo Google and other company to fight back againts NSA you better put some kind of program that allowed unauthorized access infected with viruses.

What I find ironic is all these big tech companies were in bed with the NSA and denied it when I'd was already disclosed that deniability was already part of the NSA deal. And hell, Google and their search tech IS NSA. So now we're just supposed to believe these companies are on the side of privacy now? I don't buy it. NSA will have access to the same backdoors they always had access to

Hahahaha...complete bull****. They were the first to OFFER to kiss big brother's ass and built in backdoors to literally all their electronics, which is partially why Xbox One uses Skype (DHS, FBI, etc were very vocal about spying through gaming comma and of course MS was first to comply). Everything they say otherwise is semantics and mind games because they don't give the consumer or any human for that matter, any damn credit to your intelligence and all the "lawsuits" and stuff like this is pure kabuki

This story is total BS all and I mean all electronic device are given back door access period. So this is just a PR spin