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06.21.13

Microsoft’s Very Latest Ways of Spying on People Far Worse Than Google’s and Facebook’s

Posted in Microsoft at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FSFE now runs this campaign against Xbox One:

Xbox One

Summary: Microsoft to use peripheral devices and VOIP to carry out audio-visual surveillance in people’s own homes

MICROSOFT HAS an ongoing PR campaign trying to paint itself as a champion of privacy, never mind if NSA leaks reveal Microsoft to be the company that kickstarted PRISM (it is listed as first). To make matters worse, the other PR campaign, which entered the realm of the illegal [1, 2] as Microsoft hired agents to do AstroTurfing, is promoting the Orwellian Xbox One, a device designed to spy on the users in notorious ways, with a camera in the living room too (patents suggest it will be used for spying and other patents say the same about Microsoft wearable devices). The spying features in Xbox One are so malicious that massive backlash pressured Microsoft to backtrack, or as Masnick’s site put it, Microsoft capitulates.

What about Skype, which is probably one of Microsoft’s worst bits of spyware (Microsoft made it worse after it had bought it)? Well, the latest NSA leaks and the leaker too show us that Microsoft is lying. To quote RT:

Microsoft may have misled millions of Skype users around the world by making claims last year that have since been contradicted by intelligence leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden to the Guardian and Washington Post last week have grabbed the attention of Americans concerned over the NSA’s blanketing surveillance of communications involving United States citizens. The NSA is regularly retaining the phone records for millions of Verizon customers, the documents revealed, and a separate program called PRISM allegedly lets federal investigators access Internet use information for customers of the biggest online services. One of those documents, a slideshow examining how the NSA has access to conversations conducted over nine major Internet services, may have caught Silicon Valley giant Microsoft in a lie.

Ryan Gallagher of Slate noted this week that one of the slides cited by the Washington Post was labeled a “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection,” suggesting that the NSA has in place a method for eavesdropping on conversations conducted over the popular Web client acquired in 2011 by Microsoft.

According to the slide, NSA agents can listen in or watch Skype chats “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of ‘audio, video, chat, and file transfers’ when Skype users connect by computer alone.”

Thank you for this clarification. So Microsoft is, indeed, worse than its child Facebook, which also promotes Skype by the way (Microsoft owns part of Facebook).

No company is worse on security than Microsoft. For crying out loud, Microsoft tells the NSA how to hijack people’s — let alone businesses and governments — PCs (with hard drives and everything).

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