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In wake of London terrorist attack, Microsoft complies to legal info requests from U.K authorities


Microsoft has recently been caught in a whirlwind of criticism surrounding its statement on the sharing of information with the U.K. authorities. Though the Redmond giant’s president Brad Smith stated something different, the media twisted the same and projected the company in a bad light. Thus, Microsoft today clarified its stance saying that it complied with a legal request from U.K. authorities within just 30 minutes of receiving the order.

Last week, London was unfortunate to have been struck with a terrorist attack in Westminster which caused four deaths and an even larger number of injuries. The terrorist attack has rekindled the debate surrounding encryption being used to secure online platforms, such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and other communication apps. It is due to the fact that the terrorist checked up on his WhatsApp ahead of the attack. Speaking on the same, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, responsible for internal affairs within England and Wales, said:

There should be no place for terrorists to hide; we need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.

The U.K authorities have further requested the Facebook-owned messaging giant to cooperate with intelligence agencies and develop a workaround to the encryption technology to come handy in such situations. In an interview with U.K. network ITV, Smith said that Microsoft would not comply with government requests to hack any of their customers.

But, he continued to add that the company will definitely comply with any legal requests for access to specific information. This means that Microsoft is willing to provide any data that it is legally obliged to but won’t help the government install backdoors and hamper the security and privacy of its users. With regards to the same, Microsoft President Brad Smith said:

Our team responded in under 30 minutes last week to verify that the legal order was valid and provided law enforcement the information that was sought. Our global team is on call 24/7 and responds when it receives a proper and lawful order.

This, of course, is different from helping a government outside the rule of law to turn over private information or hack or attack a customer, which we’ve said clearly we will not do. We’re committed both to protecting public safety and safeguarding personal privacy, and we believe that proper legal process is the key to striking this balance.

The Redmond giant did just that and now has made the knowledge of its action of legally providing required information to the U.K authorities public. The company has always been prompt in replying to such actions, which is also evident from the 14 lawful requests after the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris.