Microsoft to U.S. — Stop your snooping and behave

Privacy, eye, data

Microsoft’s top legal mind laid out his case for extensive government reform in the age of the cloud in a blog post Wednesday.

The bullet points set forth by Microsoft EVP and General Counsel Brad Smith called on the Obama administration to:

  1. Recognize that U.S. search warrants end at the U.S. borders
  2. Stop the bulk collection of phone records etc.
  3. Reform the FISA Court
  4. Stop hacking data centers and cables
  5. Be more transparent

It’s a pretty aggressive laundry list from Smith, who will be on stage at Structure to talk about data privacy. It’s also one that Microsoft and its cloud rivals Amazon, Google, et al should agree upon given that their growing cloud businesses abroad are at risk as foreign countries rally around data sovereignty laws that would favor home-grown cloud companies in Germany, France, China, etc. It’s sort of a “what’s good for Microsoft is good for America” plea.

All of this grows out of the steady stream of Edward Snowden disclosures that indicate the NSA has access to pretty much any data it wants by any means necessary. And that, or even the perception of that, is not helpful to U.S. tech companies trying to build massive cloud businesses.

Smith’s mini-manifesto comes weeks after Microsoft successfully challenged a gag order that forbade it from telling an enterprise client about a surveillance demand.

Smith is also slated to speak on the subject Friday in New York at the Personal Democracy Forum.

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