'I Don't Trust Microsoft Now', Former Exec Says

Dennis Faas's picture

A former Microsoft privacy expert says he no longer trusts the Redmond, Washington-based tech firm. The problem: Microsoft has been too willing to work with the United States' government's highly controversial National Security Agency.

Speaking at a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, former Microsoft Chief Privacy Adviser Casper Bowden (who was with the firm from 2002 until 2011) said "I don't trust Microsoft now."

Bowden, whose work at Microsoft involved devising privacy policy for forty different countries around the world, says that Microsoft's top executives never informed him that the firm was working with the National Security Agency (NSA).

Former Exec Denies Knowledge of PRISM Program

In fact, Bowden says he never even knew the PRISM surveillance program -- recently unveiled by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden -- existed at all.

Bowden says he no longer uses Microsoft products, opting instead to employ open source software that allows him to examine the underlying code.

Bowden then went on to outline his concerns about PRISM's impact on democratic institutions.

"The public now has to think about the fact that anybody in public life, or person in a position of influence in government, business or bureaucracy, now is thinking about what the NSA knows about them," Bowden said. (Source: cnet.com)

"So how can we trust that the decisions that they make are objective and that they aren't changing the decisions that they make to protect their career? That strikes at any system of representative government."

Microsoft Pressing For "Greater Transparency"

Rather shockingly -- given its tendency to ignore these kinds of comments -- Microsoft has issued an official statement regarding Bowden's conference presentation.

"We believe greater transparency on the part of governments -- including the US government -- would help the community understand the facts and better debate these important issues," Microsoft's statement read.

"That's why we've taken a number of steps to try and secure permission, including filing legal action with the US government."

Microsoft has joined forces with Google to pressure the U.S. government on the PRISM issue. The firms hope a new lawsuit will force the government to allow them to disclose more information about the user data they're forced to pass along to the NSA.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet