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Government Privacy United States

MS Handed NSA Access To Encrypted Chat & Email 379

Posted by timothy
from the tangled-web-they-weave dept.
kaptink writes with the latest revelation from Edward Snowden: "Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal. The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail. The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide. Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to 'understand' potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases. Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio. Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a 'team sport.'"
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MS Handed NSA Access To Encrypted Chat & Email

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  • Xbox One (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:47PM (#44254927) Journal

    All this and now they want to put an always (or nearly) on mic and camera in my home?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:47PM (#44254939)

    At what point do we call it a corporate-fascist police state?

  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:49PM (#44254961)
    campaign against Google, attacking Google for "reading your email" for putting ads on the screen.

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/7/3962794/microsoft-revives-anti-google-scroogled-campaign-to-attack-gmail [theverge.com]
  • Tired (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680)

    I'm getting a bit tired of news like this. Can we just conclude that the NSA listens to and collects as much data as it can from the US's allies as well as their enemies? And that the US's allies probably have known that for a long time but now Snowden has reveiled it they have to act surprised and angry so their citizens don't panick?

    • Re:Tired (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhxBlue (562201) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:55PM (#44255037) Homepage Journal

      I'm getting a bit tired of news like this.

      That's the danger in fighting a bureaucracy that's overstepped its bounds: Bureaucracies don't get tired. Outraged private citizens do.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432)

        Governments have been tapping phone lines since the 1800s. Why should I suddenly be shocked and dismayed that they are tapping the modern equivalent.

        It's like the stupidity over drones. Police agencies have been flying helicopters since the helicopters were invented but suddenly if it's unmanned OMGZ POLICE STATE!

    • Re:Tired (Score:5, Informative)

      by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:10PM (#44255197) Journal
      WE have known this for a long time, the average citizen has not.
    • not me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by batistuta (1794636) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:17PM (#44255251)

      With all respect, I don't want to stop hearing these news. Because I want *confirmation* of every single thing that the US has done against people's freedom. I don't want to be considered a tinfoil hat paranoid anymore. I want proof, so no one can neglect later, about how fascist he US has become. And just because it was suspected, it doesn't mean that it is ok and we can just keep going with our lives as if nothing had happened. I want to see people resign, and I want to see people get spit at publicly, and ideally --even if it's never gonna happen-- I'd like to see people going to jail not only for having violated the most basic human rights, but for trying to brainwash the uneducated into believing that this is the correct approach to protect US's national security.

    • I'm getting a bit tired of news like this...

      Slashdot is the hangout for exceptionally smart people, a lot of whom think that this situation presents a grave danger.

      Granted, you don't have to agree with a lot of exceptionally smart people, but to ask them to stop worrying over something they think is important?

      And note that you, yourself can avoid reading this type of news simply by not clicking on the article.

      So you're saying that we should stop discussing this, for your personal convenience?

      I am at a loss for [printable] words.

  • Because only people who are tech-savvy enough to run it for themselves can benefit. Letting someone else handle it for you doesn't work.

    • by Rougement (975188)
      I disagree. This has become so high profile, I'd bet we'll be seeing some OSS, cross-platform, easy to implement encryption solutions pretty soon. The tech is there, it's the ease of use and mindshare that need to catch up.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      Because only people who are tech-savvy enough to run it for themselves can benefit. Letting someone else handle it for you doesn't work.

      hmm? it shows that encryption can win.

      encryption that's provided by others is useless, that's the point. encryption works so they have to go through the people who hold the keys.

      it's a big fucking loss for MS though. big companies can't trust them with shit now, they can't know if USA prefers their competitor to them for political reasons, so they have no idea if all their research would be going to their competitor straight away... which is sort of funny considering that USA has bitched about the chinese d

  • I, for one, (Score:5, Funny)

    by mandark1967 (630856) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:51PM (#44254987) Homepage Journal

    welcome our email and chat reading overlords and I dare them to decrypt my ROT13 encoded emails...suckers.

    If it's good enough for SCO, it's good to go.

  • Worth a look (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rougement (975188) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:54PM (#44255023)
    I've been following these revelations pretty closely but I didn't come across this until now, well worth a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6m1XbWOfVk [youtube.com] (Interview with Russell Tice, another NSA whistleblower)
    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Let the blackmailing games begin. Snooping all the information means that any people with access to that (and that means at least 5 millon [salon.com]) can use them for blackmailing anyone, foreigners and americans, from the lowest employee to Obama (as point the video). Give them enough power, and they will have power over you. Any chain is weak as if even the strong links can be blackmailed.

      • by Rougement (975188) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:28PM (#44256989)
        True. They (Tice suggests top NSA and the office of the then-VP Cheney) didn't bank on all of this getting out though. It's easy to threaten one person with blackmail but if enough of those in power stand up to the NSA, then what? There would be one hell of a lot of sudden "anonymous leaks" to the papers. Who knows how deep that rabbit hole would go? Blackmail certainly does tally with Obama's actions thus far, not to mention his complete 180 degree turn on these issues shortly after being sworn in.
        • Lots of congresscritters, and more obviously, the DOJ. The DOJ has continually went the wrong direction now for decades. Blackmail explains a lot.
  • by dryriver (1010635) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @03:54PM (#44255031)
    MS Outlook/Hotmail/Skype has tens of millions of users in 190+ countries around the world. If MS handed ALL OF THAT PRIVATE INFO to the NSA while pretending NOT TO DO PRECISELY THAT, this is the beginning of the end for MS in this market segment. I've had a Hotmail account for over a decade, and I'm seriously pissed that MS made my private emails accessible to the NSA. ---- I hope that Microsoft gets fucked forwards, backwards and sideways for doing this by its loyal customers. I sure as hell won't be using Hotmail/Outlook for anything confidential anymore. ---- To Microsoft's executives: You are a bunch of reckless, lying, cheating, incompetent assworms pretending to be human beings. I hope you lying, backstabbing fucksticks get 20+ year jail sentences for what you have done to innocent users of your email products.
    • by Rougement (975188)
      Not just M$, there are so many companies and quite a few governments involved. Once the first ruling goes badly for these guys, the floodgates will open and everybody will want a piece of the action.
    • by mu51c10rd (187182)

      I think it would be naive to conclude that only Microsoft is providing this access to the US government. I would look at foreign sites to escape from the NSA (and perhaps we instead perused by that host country's intelligence service instead).

  • Makes one wonder.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitAl56K (805623) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:01PM (#44255103)

    .. if Microsoft bought Skype in order to provide access, and if any $ changed hands.

    • Why do you think eBay bought them? It helped connect Skype and PayPal accounts together. There is really no other logical reason why an auction / wire transfer service would be interested in video chat.

      • by icebike (68054) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:13PM (#44255763)

        Why do you think eBay bought them? It helped connect Skype and PayPal accounts together. There is really no other logical reason why an auction / wire transfer service would be interested in video chat.

        Wait, what? You believe that?
        I've never known skype or video chat to be useful or used at all with ebay shoppers.

        The price eBay payed was so astronomical that it could only have been with back-door funding from the Government.

        The point was to get Skype out of Estonian hands because there was no reliable way for the NSA to tap into it. Even if they managed to break the encryption they couldn't handle the peer-to-peer routing. It was something they had to either shut down, or buy up.

        Ebay turned out to be an incompetent partner, so the government stepped up to the only company that was interested, and I suspect they paid for the Microsoft purchase from ebay, and paid for asure in the process.

    • On top of advertising, they get to charge the federal government to snoop on us:

      What the government pays to snoop on you [usatoday.com]

      Every wonder how some of these startups were actually making money? I think we have stumbled upon their business model.

  • by Rougement (975188) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:03PM (#44255127)
    ... for the first person to post that they've known this was happening for years and that anybody who didn't is a moron.
    • by Thud457 (234763)
      hey, on the plus side, it looks like all this NSA kerfluffle has silenced those idiots that always trot out

      if you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      You just don't like it when the tin foil hat brigade is right, first you ridicule them for years then give them a kick in the nuts for saying "I told you so?" Besides, the only thing Americans are crying about is that they're spying on their own not the 6.7 billion other people on the planet so I'll continue to assume that the NSA wants to read my mail. In fact, I should probably assume that every other country in the world would like to read my email even if ours doesn't - which is by no means certain. Tha

  • The vendors say they obey the law, respond only to direct requests for information, review those carefully, and then decided what data to release.

    But how is that possible if the data is being hoovered? Would the "direct request" be something on the order of, "gives me all your data -- all of it, on everyone", in which case, that thoughtful review and careful decision is a MEANINGLESS exercise.

    When the state has ultimate power, it drains the normal meanings of words. Even saying something like, "we are a nation of laws, not men" is meaningless in the face of such categorical activity. When the government is that intrusive, what's legal is whatever it wants it to be.

    That's the problem. If I were a plucky startup, I would be busy getting together a technical response to this. Clearly, everyone needs to be able to encrypt everything BEFORE it gets into the hands of any information provider.

    • The vendors say they obey the law, respond only to direct requests for information, review those carefully, and then decided what data to release.

      You have to be careful with this kind of wording.....when they say they review them carefully, they aren't reviewing to see if it's a violation of someone's privacy, or if the request is really valid.

      All they are reviewing is to make sure releasing the info won't get them sued. They're not thinking of the end user in that case.

  • by stewsters (1406737) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:19PM (#44255279)
    At least I didn't get Scroogled. Oh wait. That's exactly what happened.
  • Terms of Service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hort_wort (1401963) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:21PM (#44255303)

    Interpreting the lawyer-fied terms of service reveals that Microsoft has been hinting at this kind of thing for a while. That's fun. http://tosdr.org/#microsoft [tosdr.org]

  • Since my MS live account is generally only used to catch spam... I wonder how much this is costing me in tax dollars.

  • by guitardood (934630) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:35PM (#44255443)

    Bing'd: getting caught by law enforcement thanks to the ever helpful and ever present folks of the SS.....I mean MS.

    (i.e. My neighbor got bing'd for skyping to a friend that he was he was still watering his lawn despite the water ration.)

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:02PM (#44255689)

    Since slashdot refuses to accept my submission on this, or anything else relating to this guy, I'll just leave this here:
    The American Public: Edward Snowden is not a traitor

    A new poll released Wednesday by Qunnipiac University finds that the vast majority of Americans thing that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. A mere 34% think he is a traitor 45% percent think the government’s anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 10, 2010, survey.

    "The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about the overall anti- terrorism effort and civil liberties and about Snowden is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything. Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment." — Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1919 [quinnipiac.edu]

  • by fullback (968784) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:40PM (#44256013)

    "So? What are you going to do about it?"

    The answer is that you'll do nothing. You won't dare elect anyone who will dismantle the system because you're afraid that you'll be put on a "list."

    Why don't you people just stop whining about this? Just sit back and relax. Eat the bread and watch the circus.

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:04PM (#44256253)

    This is exactly what I feared when I read that Microsoft bought Skype. It was an eye-widening moment and now my fears have proven true.

    Anyone who isn't rushing to start running their own XMPP server and get all their friends and family moved over to it is insane.

  • by OldSport (2677879) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:59PM (#44256767)

    Aside from the EFF and half the Slashdot population, nobody will do a damn thing.

  • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Friday July 12, 2013 @02:57AM (#44259149) Homepage

    Telstra is currently moving all their customers email hosting to Microsoft.

    For our US "allies" - that's Australia's largest ISP.

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