Software king of the world Microsoft has admitted that it is probably not a good idea for foreigners to keep their data stored in the US.
Vole’s head lawyer Brad Smith has indicated that overseas customers will be allowed to have their personal data stored in non-US data centres to stop US spooks from snuffling it.
The move suggests that Microsoft has had a gutsful of the US spying on its foreign customers and it is taking steps to keep them out of the networks.
Talking to the FT, Smith said that people should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides.
Smith added that Microsoft customers could choose where to have their data stored in Microsoft’s wide network of data centres, for example, Europeans could specify a facility in Ireland.
This is being seen as the clearest sign so far that Microsoft is worried about the public backlash, especially overseas, to revelations by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA claimed to tap into tech companies’ servers to spy on foreign individuals.
Microsoft denies that, and has said that it only hands over customer data when properly requested by intelligence agencies, but an air of mistrust has remained, especially in Europe and China.
So far Vole has had a unified response to the NSA scandal, and has steered away from the idea of offering non-US data storage for overseas users. But it does look like it is worried about losing customers because of US antics.
Offering customers the choice of data centres would be easier for Microsoft than some smaller companies, as it already has a number of storage facilities across the globe.