Microsoft has denied that it provides any government with ‘blanket or direct access' to any of its products.
In a recent article in the Guardian, it was claimed that Microsoft had collaborated with the US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted and that it allows the National Security Agency to circumvent its own encryption.
Microsoft responded in a statement that it has clear principles to guide the response for government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues.
It said that it only provides customer data in response to legal processes and its compliance team examines all demands very closely, and it rejects them if it believes they aren't valid.
Finally, it said that it only ever complies with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and would not respond to the kind of blanket orders. “To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product,” it stated.
Microsoft said that when a product is upgraded or updated, legal obligations might require that it maintains the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request.
Files provided to the Guardian by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed to show that: Microsoft helped the NSA circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal; the agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail; and Microsoft worked with the FBI to allow the NSA to have easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide.