According to the documents, Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal. The agancy already had pre-encryption stage access to emails on Outlook.com, including Hotmail, the paper says. Microsoft is also said is helped the NSA have easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive as well as to Skype conversations an daudio.
Responding the report, Microsoft issued the followning statement:
"We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues.
First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes. Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren't valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate. To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product.
Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That?s why we?ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues."
In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have "direct access" through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.