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