NSA gives Microsoft an 'F' for spycraft; Brad Smith vents at FISA


FISA #FAIL, opines Mr. Smith (in Washington).

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) general counsel Brad Smith is mad: Really, truly, hopping cross. Speaking in DC, at the Brookings Institution, Smith vented his anger over U.S. spying and the secret FISA courts.

He also revealed the "Company F" that the NSA were so exercised about in 2009 was Microsoft.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers grab the popcorn.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Grant Gross gets going:

Congress has taken small steps to protect data from surveillance by...government agencies, but lawmakers need to go further, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel...said during a speech at the Brookings Institute. Lawmakers should also ensure that companies are accountable...for their privacy practices, Smith said.

"By the end of this decade, there will be 50 billion devices in the Internet of things connected...around the world. ... Every thermostat, smoke detector, fire extinguisher, parking meter, traffic light, garbage can, and you name it, [will be] a connected device."  MORE


Shira Ovide avoids contempt: [You're fired -Ed.]

The U.S.’s secret surveillance court is unaccountable to the public and not “inclined to promote justice,” Microsoft’s top lawyer said. [FISA] acts unlike most other courts because “only one side gets to tell its story.” The surveillance court also effectively creates law “that the American public is not permitted to read.”

The court’s decisions and most documents submitted to the court are secret, which Smith said made it tough for those opposing the government’s data demands to have a fair hearing.

A 2009 draft NSA inspector general report, disclosed last year, referred to a “Company F” as among Internet companies that resisted government bulk-records requests. ... Smith said Tuesday that Company F was Microsoft.  MORE


And Charles Cooper sets the wayback machine to Stun:

As far back as the presidency of John Adams, Smith [noted the] debate that has periodically engaged Americans...where to set the proper boundary between privacy and the individual.

Smith cited the US Constitution's search and seizure protections in the Fourth Amendment and said Microsoft would continue to oppose what he described as unlawful government attempts to hack into US data centers at home or overseas.

Microsoft is currently embroiled in a dispute with the government [and] is resisting a judge's order that it comply with a warrant...for a customer's email-account data stored in Dublin, Ireland.  MORE


So Alex Wilhelm quips, "On rolls the Snowden Effect":

Smith stated that the House...which recently passed a controversially weakened NSA-reform bill called the USA FREEDOM Act, made progress on ending bulk data collection, but that “we should all hope that the Senate can get us the rest of the way.”


Smith called for more transparency, and a more adversarial process. He did note that an advocate for the public has been proposed, but not yet made into law.

Smith’s comments...put Microsoft decidedly on one side of the current debate concerning privacy, and the actions of the government. ... Microsoft is wealthy, politically active [but] when you or I become discontent with the government, our disgruntlement doesn’t rest on a foundation [of a] $344 billion...market cap.  MORE


Meanwhile, the ACLU's Christopher Soghoian wants us to notice the situational irony:

Top lawyer at company that kept Skype backdoor for gov wiretapping secret from users slams secret FISA court.

I'm mainly just mad that they still won't talk about what intercept capabilities they've built into Skype.  MORE

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