Home TECH Microsoft exec: Targeting of Americans’ records ‘routine’

Microsoft exec: Targeting of Americans’ records ‘routine’

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal law enforcement agencies secretly seek out Microsoft customers’ data thousands of times a year, according to Congressional testimony Wednesday by a senior executive at the technology company.

Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer safety and trust, told House Judiciary Committee members that in recent years federal law enforcement has been treating the company with 2,400 to 3,500 confidentiality orders per year, or about seven to 10 a day. is.

Burt described widespread covert surveillance as a major shift from historical norms, saying, “Most shocking is the regular secrecy when law enforcement targets an American email, text message, or other sensitive data stored in the cloud.” How are the orders made?

Relations between law enforcement and Big Tech have come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks with the revelation that Trump-era Justice Department prosecutors have probed leaked phone records relating not only to journalists but to members of Congress and their employees. received as part of For example, Microsoft was among the companies that changed the record under a court order, and due to a gag order, had to wait more than two years before revealing it.

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Since then, Microsoft President Brad Smith has called for an end to the overuse of covert gag orders, arguing in the opinion of the Washington Post that “prosecutors are often exploiting technology to abuse our fundamental freedoms.” Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland has said the Justice Department will drop its practice of seizing reporter records and will formalize that stance soon.

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