Microsoft Wants to Reveal More Info About NSA Data Requests

Letter to attorney general says "the Constitution itself is suffering" due to secrecy


Microsoft on Tuesday asked the Obama administration to allow it to reveal details about how it responds to orders from the U.S. government for user account data.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, sent a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this afternoon saying there is "no longer a compelling government interest" in preventing companies "from sharing more information" about how they respond. That's especially true, the letter said, when this information is likely to help "allay public concerns" about warrantless surveillance.

The letter appears to be a response to a report last Thursday in the Guardian, based on internal National Security Agency documents provided by Edward Snowden, that said the government can intercept Skype calls and encrypted messages. That's a change from 2008, when the then eBay-owned Skype told CNET it "would not be able to comply" with a wiretapping court order.