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[liberationtech] Microsoft Releases 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report

Nick Daly nick.m.daly at
Fri Mar 22 11:44:04 PDT 2013

On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 10:49 AM, Cynthia Wong <wongc at> wrote:
> Why are RU and CN (most glaringly) absent from the first chart
> enumerating the number (and type) of requests by country? It's hard to
> believe those countries' security services have no interest in
> (non-Skype) Microsoft data.  Is MS defining those countries as having
> no legal standing to request MS data, and therefore any requests from
> them would be rejected out-of-hand?

I actually read it as "those countries have made no specific requests
and that the missing surveillance is already accounted for in the normal
operation of the system, such that no formal requests were necessary."
At least, that's how I interpret that statement in light of the
Businessweek-Skype article [0], which says, in part:

    The surveillance feature in TOM-Skype, which has 96 million users in
    China, scans messages for specific words and phrases.  When the
    program finds a match, it sends a copy of the offending missive to a
    TOM-Skype server, along with the account’s username, time and date
    of transmission, and whether the message was sent or received by the
    user, Knockel’s research shows.  Whether that information is then
    shared with the Chinese government is unknown.

Yes, the article's talking about Skype, but if a service as popular as
Skype includes such features, it's probably imprudent to assume that
other MS services act differently, especially when there's a blatant
hole in the data: there's no way Skype, with that feature enabled,
could've turned over only 6 conversations, so I'm forced to disbelieve
both sets of numbers.

I make this statement under the assumption that Businessweek would be
competent enough publish only independently-verifiable claims on the
first page of such a sensitive article.  If Businessweek is a bunch of
lunkheads, then I may have to revise my opinions and suspicions.



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