Microsoft awarded top marks for protecting user data from prying governments

Microsoft has been heavily involved with other tech companies in fighting for customers' privacy rights in the courts and congress in the US. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which publishes a Who Has Your Back report each year, has awarded Microsoft (among a handful of other companies) with top marks when it comes to protecting user data against government officials.

The report grades technology companies on how they handle customer data access requests, put forward by government. Microsoft met all six factors included in the report, which each listing is graded by. The company scored full marks across the board on the following:

  • Requires a warrant for content
  • Tells users about government data requests
  • Publishes transparency reports
  • Publishes law enforcement guidelines
  • Fights for users' privacy rights in court
  • Fights for users' privacy rights in congress

Microsoft has previously announced the company has nothing to do with programs including PRISM, reassuring customers that all data is safe and they will be notified should government officials request data. Other companies have also been vocal about protecting user data. Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Sonic, Twitter and Yahoo all joined Microsoft in receiving the full six stars.

Security Glasses

Microsoft was also praised for improvements made through the years (the company only had a single star in the 2012 report), and the company appears to be actively open to feedback on said issues. Contrast to the success of a select few, MySpace, AT&T and all scored a measly two stars, while Snapchat ended up with only a single star – not a positive end result for the private image sharing service.

The tech giant received a total of 37,196 requests from law enforcement agencies in the first six months of 2013. These requests affected 66,539 accounts on Hotmail,, OneDrive, Xbox Live, Microsoft Account, Office 365 and Skype. It's noted that only a select number of these requests were actually fulfilled with the disclosure of customer data.

Be sure to read through the full report over on EFF.

Source: EFF, via: WinBeta

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.