Four of Microsoft's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, China, were raided as part of an official government investigation. Microsoft China spokeswoman Joan Li confirmed that Investigators of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce were investigating the company and that Microsoft would “actively cooperate”’ with the Chinese government. The South China Morning Post reported that the investigation may involve antitrust matters.
In May, China cited computer security concerns and banned Windows 8 from being installed on government PCs. After China claimed Microsoft had backdoors in the OS to allow for U.S. government spying, Microsoft issued the following five statements:
- Microsoft has never assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients.
- Microsoft has never provided any government the authority to directly visit our products or services.
- Microsoft has never provided any so-called "Backdoor" into its products or services.
- Microsoft has never provided the data or info of our clients to the U.S. Govt. or National Security Agency.
- Microsoft has never concealed any requests from any government for information about its clients.
Regarding the raid on Microsoft offices, a Microsoft spokeswoman told NDTV, "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we're happy to answer the government's questions."
Last week, attorneys for the NSA, CIA and DNI joined Microsoft’s Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing, in “Striking the Right Balance between Security and Liberty,” a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute moderated by the Washington Post’s Greg Miller.
When asked if the government compelled Microsoft to add a backdoor to Skype, Charney replied that the government had “never done that” and that Microsoft “would fight it tooth and nail in the courts.”
The government can use FISA to compel companies “to provide technical assistance,” but if the government said “put in a backdoor,” then Microsoft “would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.” Charney added, “If the government did that, and I really don’t think they would, it would be at the complete expense of American competitiveness. Because if we put in a backdoor for the U.S. government, we couldn’t sell anywhere in the world, not even in America.”
Yet in September 2013, The New York Times reported the NSA worked with Microsoft “officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. Microsoft asserted that it had merely complied with ‘lawful demands’ of the government, and in some cases, the collaboration was clearly coerced.”
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