Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Government Privacy United States

MS Handed NSA Access To Encrypted Chat & Email 379

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 portal. The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, 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 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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MS Handed NSA Access To Encrypted Chat & Email

Comments Filter:
  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @04:54PM (#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.
  • Makes one wonder.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:01PM (#44255103)

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

  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:05PM (#44255147)

    The NSA doesn't need any warrant at all if GCHQ does the work. Which it does. So don't worry, US citizens aren't entitled to privacy either.

  • Re:Burying the lede (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:11PM (#44255199)

    Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant,

    They don't have to target anyone because they simply record all communications. Thus neatly bypassing the need for warrants etc. The NSA has been caught lying about this stuff already. I see no reason to believe their denials now.

  • Re:Burying the lede (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:20PM (#44255285)

    Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans' communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

    I notice you carefully decided not to quote the first sentence of that paragraph:

    Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time.

    Why did you leave that out?

    51% Believe? How the hell do you measure that?
    The way I read it is any half assed idle speculation is sufficient to avoid even asking for a warrant at any time.

    Is there anyone left on planet earth who still believes the Meta Data Only nonsense?

    Did the NSA buy Skype for Microsoft? Did the NSA demand the routing of all conversations through Microsoft's own servers, instead
    of the distributed nodes used in the original Skype design?
    Where is Microsoft actually hosting their Skype servers? Are they using "overseas" Asure data centers [] so that the 51% can be met?

  • Terms of Service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hort_wort ( 1401963 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:21PM (#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. []

  • by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:35PM (#44255447)

    That isn't what the article is about. It is about Microsoft intentionally using a crippled encryption system to encourage a false sense of security and about some further specifics about Microsoft's cooperation with the PRISM blanket surveillance system. Basically more details about how Microsoft completely fucks over their customers and essentially acts as a branch of the NSA.

  • Re:Burying the lede (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:36PM (#44255455)

    Did the NSA buy Skype for Microsoft?

    No, but the NSA probably paid MS more in tax payer dollars for access to that information than skype cost to buy for MS.

  • Re:Burying the lede (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:55PM (#44255627)

    The government knows that it regularly obtains Americans’ protected communications. The Washington Post reported that Prism is designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness” — as John Oliver of “The Daily Show” put it, “a coin flip plus 1 percent.” By turning a blind eye to the fact that 49-plus percent of the communications might be purely among Americans, the N.S.A. has intentionally acquired information it is not allowed to have, even under the terrifyingly broad auspices of the FISA Amendments Act.

    "Tap them", indeed, and then some. This latest round of revelations by the whistlblower Snowden details how Microsofts cloud service SkyDrive pipes directly into Prism. Skydrive has a nasty little feature, turned on by default (and turned on again on any upgrade if you decided to turn it off) that allows remote access to all the contents of all hard drives connected to your computer. Yes, thats right, everything *outside* your Skydrive folder. If your a non US citizen then your hard drive is now potentially imaged by prism, if your a US citizen living in the US you have a coin toss +1% chance of the same. Even if it is turned off how can you know they cant remotely image your computer - you cant, because Microsoft (and google, and yahoo...) just a few weeks ago all assured us they only reluctantly respond to court orders. Snowden has blown the whistle on them there lies, at least in Micrisifts case. Interesting to see if Google did backflips like MS has to give all the three letter agencies direct access to our private data.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:13PM (#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.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:39PM (#44255999)

    I think Barbara Lee would be an interesting candidate for the Democrats. Of course she will need a running mate. I think one of the "Pauls" might make an interesting choice. I had long thought a R (Paul [] (P) /Paul [] (VP) ) ticket would blend the mutual gravitas and seriousness of the ticket and make it approachable by more voters. With Ron getting too old to run that frees someone to run with Barbara. There might be someone better, but it would be an interesting choice.

  • by OldSport ( 2677879 ) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:59PM (#44256767)

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

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller