Microsoft Agrees To Hand Over Skype User Data To Russian Police

from the laying-down-for-its-users dept

Microsoft’s defense of its very close relationship with national intelligence agencies has historically been that it “complies with applicable laws.” However, its “compliance” in the past seemed to have exceeded the compliance of other companies, as it offered the NSA pre-encryption access to most of its popular services as well as “working closely” with the agency to allow it to grab both audio and video from Skype, which it acquired in 2011.

The company has taken a tougher stance in recent weeks, releasing statements that decry the agency’s overreach and promise better protection of users’ information and data. But given this recent development, it appears the tough talk was saber-rattling for the public’s benefit. Microsoft is still very compliant when it comes to working with intelligence agencies.

Microsoft Corporation that owns the Internet call service Skype is ready to keep in store its Russian users’ negotiations, correspondence and data exchange during six months and share it with the Russian police, if necessary, Microsoft’s press office told Itar-Tass.
Microsoft thus confirmed its commitment to work in full compliance with the Russian law, the way it does in all countries of its operations. If any new law is adopted, the company will comply with it as well, the press office said.

Well, I suppose there are none of the usual constitutional concerns that might (theoretically) limit Microsoft’s obliging attitude towards the Russian’s counter-terrorism efforts. Every Russian Skype user will have their data stored for six months and handed over to the police whenever they ask for it. If the Russian agencies decide they need more data, or want to extend the length of time the data is stored, Microsoft has already agreed to honor any future law targeting its Skype users.

The pending legislation covers a whole lot of ground, data-wise.

According to the document, an individual or a legal entity that has organised users’ contacts on the Internet are to store information about the reception, transmission, delivery and processing of voice information, texts, images, sounds or any other actions in the process of information dissemination and/or data exchange, for six months following such actions and share the mentioned information with the state authorities, if requested.

Any service that has user accounts (which would be close to 100% of them) will be required to hold tons of user data and metadata for six months at the behest of Russian authorities. This isn’t that much different than the NSA’s data hauls, except that some of its programs don’t specifically ask for permission before grabbing data and the collections are stored onsite by the agency.

Details are presumably still being hashed out, but Microsoft has already sworn its allegiance to the Russian law in whatever form it takes after being pushed through the legislative process. Not exactly a heartening indicator of Microsoft’s new-found willingness to stand up to government overreach.

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Companies: microsoft, skype

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Comments on “Microsoft Agrees To Hand Over Skype User Data To Russian Police”

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out_of_the_blue says:

You don't excuse the rest even if Microsoft were the worst.

This is the old “but he’s worse” game to take focus off the entire class of criminals. As for me, I’m up to reviling more than one corporation at a time.

Google’s tailoring to YOU can selectively substitute, omit, and lie. You can’t trust anything on the net, neither what you see nor what you don’t see!


Navjeet Dhankhar (user link) says:

one can't feel secure (private) with even this company

Now we ought to understand that none of the company can keep our data protected and secure. Either they have some political issues which force them to provide our data to the government or the police and security agencies. . But the question is who guarantees that after this also our information will not be misused. Exceptions are always there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Meanwhile in Thailand

The Election Commission refuses to register candidates in the south of Thailand thus preventing a government from taking power because 95% of constituencies need to be elected. Somchai Srisuthiyakorn of the EC demands the government delay elections (which is illegal and would get the government banned by the Constitutional Council), he insists he’s not trying to kill elections.

3 Thai navy seals in plain clothes were caught with sniper weapons and VIP passes, joining a small group of the more violent anti-government protestors. Their boss Rear Admiral Winai Klomin claims they were there investigating a drugs!

The National Anti Corruption Council is trying to ban the elected government on the basis that they were in power when *unproven* corruption in the rice scheme may have happened, ergo they must be guilty of corruption. Vicha Mahakun insists the charges are not politically motivated.

The Constitution Court has found that the man trying to take power by force in Bangkok, Suthep Thaugsuban, isn’t guilty of insurrection based on evidence it didn’t see because the case was filed in a different court, the criminal court, not with them!

Suthep Thaugsuban has since threatened to kidnap the Prime Minister to force her to resign, and threatened any military chief and police chief who disobeys him with prison time when he gets power.

An army chief and long time friend of Sutheps, General Prayuth Chan-ocha keeps making ominous noises talking up civil war and his army role in taking power if that happens.

Suthep has so far failed to be arrested, either on the insurrection charge, or the murder charge he also faces for the 2010 massacre of democracy protestors in Bangkok for which he was supposed to be in court on January 8th.

Meanwhile the people are likely to vote Yingluk back into power by a huge majority, well they would if the bodies of state would permit elections. However they seem ever more desperate to avoid elections at all costs, and the people normally in the shadows are there for everyone to see, and name.

So, back to the lesson of the day. Democracies are very fragile, all it takes is a few corrupt individuals working together without the proper checks and balances in place, and they can quickly become dictatorships.

DO NOT LOSE DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF YOUR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES! We are all just a turnkey away from tyranny. Don’t think what is happening in Thailand can’t happen in the US!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Meanwhile in Thailand


Take a look at BangkokPost trying to sell the “popular uprising overthrowing corrupt incompetent government narrative”

Here’s the corruption claim (a smear):

Here is the ‘popular uprising claim’ (false

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile in Thailand

In 2010, we had a ‘Democrat’ government in Thailand, they lost the previous election, but got into power a different way. The judicial tricks route to power, exactly as we’re seeing now.

Naturally there were protests from the majority. They had voted one way, but the losing opposition democrats got power anyway.

The democrats authorized the use of live fire against these protestors, but the army weren’t shooting. An army is made of people, and Thai’s don’t like killing each other. Until an agent-provocateur or other agent, threw a grenade at the army, killing one and uniting the soldiers in anger against the protestors.

After that the army shot freely, killing 90 and injuring 2500. You can see the videos on youtube, but Thailand never got to see the evidence.

Democrats introduced harsh censorship laws prevented Thais telling each other what happened, and an army astroturf body swamped forums with lies.

You might recall the army astroturf awards for most comments posted from reading boingboing a year or two ago.

The Prime Minister at the time was Abhisit, and his deputy was Suthep.

Suthep faces a murder charge for authorizing that live fire. Shortly afterwards he started raising a mob to try to bring down the government.

Suthep is the man trying to seize power in Bangkok. Really its a cover for the same way they got power in 2008, judicial games using the government bodies controlled by the 2006 coup plotters. The EC, CC and NACC. Bodies appointed by a Senate which in turn is half appointed by the plotters to ensure they hold majority votes.

I ask that you non-Thai’s take a little time to read the real news, join forums in English about Thailand and critique the lies.

For example, a propagandist says 3.5 million people were at the protest, take a picture of the protest, measure the area and work out that 3.5 million would be 625 people per square meter, and thus impossible and thus a lie.

Or that the election failure is the government’s fault. Please read up on the Thai constitution and realize the government doesn’t run the election at all.

Because if Suthep’s people get into power, the only way for them to hold power is with live fire, and I am not bullet proof and a second 2010 would be a disaster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile in Thailand

Breaking news:

A small IED has been set off against protestors injuring about 20.

Protestors have found a room with what looks like military weapons and walkie-talkies and other kit nearby (why would they have a base near the bomb?).

Channel 3 news, is interviewing a man by phone, he has a rich narrative filled story about a man with a black-shirt (why would he dress in uniform? Why wouldn’t he dress to blend in) the day before who they reported to police, but the police said was just a normal person, etc. etc. So much story there framing the police as co-conspirators.

Recognize the agent-provocateur pattern?

Elections are 2nd February, the Electoral Commission has so far defeated the election by not registering candidates in the south.

I expect the EC to now cancel the election on the pretext of violence prevention.

Some sort of fake unity government will be put in by the coup plotters stuffed with their people. After all, they control the Senate, and the bodies that organize the elections, interpret the constitution, and a faction of the army.

Soft coup.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Meanwhile in Thailand

Oh, and now we see the pictures, the bomb plotter left a red hat (indicating government political loyalty) and a lot of weapons and the pin from the hand grenade!

Handy that, all that nicely constructed evidence.

And so many weapons he left… he is supposed to have thrown one grenade, and yet left all these weapons and items to identify him as on the government side of politics!

Not only that, Suthep does not reveal the route of the march, and changed it shortly before the attack! And yet somehow he knew the day before.

Thai’s are not buying it either:

The narrative is clearly designed to demonize the elected government and thus provide the context for their removal from power by a stealth coup.

Elections need to go ahead, the Electoral Commission needs to do its job within the constitution and hold elections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meanwhile in Thailand

The police are asking the obvious question, how come the bomber knew the route of the march, when it was changed at the last minute by Suthep to pass these derelict buildings?!

Also why would you march past a derelict area at all??

Whether you believe what I’m saying or not, if you have friends in this march, please get them out to safety and away from Suthep.

It could be some extreme red faction did it, but how would that faction know about the last minute route change??

Get them out and to safety. Yellow or red, don’t let the crooks divide us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meanwhile in Thailand

Channel 7, the army channel has reported the story. An army man has explained the grenade is not theirs, it’s made in China, and then goes into great detail about its weight size explosive strength etc. handy that he knows so much detail about a grenade his army doesn’t use.

Channel 3, regular news, reports most aspects, and also the police explain they don’t use hand grenades at all, so of course its not theirs. They’ve again, asked the protestors to let them examine the scene with forensics, previously blocked by Suthep.

The rallying crews for the protestors are parading injured people and claiming a Yingluk (elected PM) plot due to the police emblems and red hat.

Oh boy. This is really a side show when the Electoral Commission won’t organize elections in violation of the Thai constitution.

Rekrul says:

You know, there is a really easy way to avoid such surveillance;

Write a new, open-source video chat app. Rather than requiring users to create a profile on a company server and have all their calls routed through company servers, you enter the other person’s IP address and it makes a direct connection to their copy of the app, securely encrypting the data.

How would people know their IP address? The app would have a function to obtain the IP address from a publicly available source. Then you just send an email or text saying “Call me:”, the other person puts in that IP address, the apps connect and you chat.

Unfortunately, probably 95% of today’s computer owners would be too clueless and lazy to use such an app. If they can’t click a single button and have it just work, they’re convinced that it’s too complicated for them to use. 🙁

dirtytechie says:

Re: Re:

I wish it were as simple as what you described.

Things like Network address translation (Wikipedia) make this unworkable. Even if it wouldn’t, several people share your home IP address. Should that call go to your wife’s tablet or your smartphone or the IP camera with auto answer watching over your pet poodle ?

Programs like skype are there precisely to address these issues. The complexity is there for a certain purpose.

However there do exist techniques that can avoid a central point. Check out various P2P distributed messaging systems, blackphone etc.

Roffe says:

Re: Re:

could it have been the state or its just desame, microft even tells you what you can surf on or not.
are they your mom and dad and police in one person.
This country is even more controll, regulated and spy on then kina, russia and the rest of the countries together.
And you say its a free country, is it not time to stop living in that lie and see what a shitcountry it is and what it does.

Anonymous Coward says:

Heh, people still use Spype? I humbly suggest people start using free and open source video call software, such as Jitsi (

Microsoft is one of the largest proprietary backdoor providers in the market. They have NSA decryption keys coded directly into their all their operating systems.

Any software that is proprietary, with no source code available, must be assumed to include backdoors and treated as a security threat.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA Rubs Hands in Glee

If I was the NSA I would demand that any information that gets handed to Russia gets handed to the NSA – Russians do all the work of targeting people and the NSA can check up on why they’re interested. Potential terrorists, or maybe dissidents or insiders to exploit…

Maybe intercept and change the contents of the data to NSAs benefit too…

Of course if I was Russian intelligence I would be playing the same game from the other side too…

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