Microsoft To Encrypt Data Center Links; Says NSA Hacking Would Be Unconstitutional

from the and-now-what? dept

We were somewhat surprised to see Microsoft recently admit that in the wake of the revelation that the NSA had infiltrated the private data links between Yahoo and Google's data centers that it had not yet decided to encrypt its own such links. Google had very quickly moved to encrypt those links and Yahoo has recently done so as well (though it took a little while). Now Microsoft is saying that it's going to do the same thing.

While the revealed documents did not directly point to a similar infiltration of Microsoft, there's reason to believe it was also compromised. Other Snowden documents mentioned in the linked article above note that Microsoft is listed as having data accessible under the same program, referred to as MUSCULAR. Perhaps more interesting is Microsoft making it clear that it believes any such infiltration would be a serious legal violation:
When asked about the NSA documents mentioning surveillance of Microsoft services, Smith issued a sharply worded statement: “These allegations are very disturbing. If they are true these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
Of course, just because something is a Constitutional violation doesn't necessarily mean that there's much of a legal remedy. Any lawsuit would immediately lead to claims of sovereign immunity and national security to try to kill off any such lawsuit. It's the same thing the feds have done every time they've been challenged on this stuff. The only real way to deal with this is to make sure that the companies actually protect user data in a manner that makes it nearly impossible for the government to break in as it has in the past.

Filed Under: brad smith, datacenters, encryption, infiltration, nsa, nsa surveillance
Companies: microsoft


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2013 @ 8:03pm

    As we have seen from the past anyone can get someone on the inside of any organization. The USSR was getting crypto keys from a naval officer back in the day.
    All the big pipe companies like level3 can and probably have been infiltrated.
    Hell look at all the companies that were making money from Uncle Sam by providing access to data under FISA and simple requests.
    All these companies can encrypt all they want, they will still hand over the keys when asked.
    What needs to change is laws that require the proper 4th amendment process to be put in place.

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