Summary: A whole week after Microsoft got nailed by media/press all around the world for its serious privacy violations Microsoft is attempting to a shift blame and refute claims which were never even made
Microsoft, which was already caught lying and dancing around serious matters (several times before), is having a massive issue as customers no longer trust it, especially business customers. Microsoft is a pathological liar on the issue of spying, so there is no reason to assume they won’t lie again about surveillance. Creative wording can’t turn lies into truth.
There is a massive PR campaign (observed as damage control) after reports about large-scale NSA collusion, with Microsoft listed as the first PRISM partner and going much further than the rest, even permitting live eavesdropping on calls. Microsoft is frantically trying to get out of the reputation mess, using dozens of articles about this non-news, no-evidence denial (coming from a pathological liar). In short, Microsoft provides zero proof which can falsify allegations for which there is concrete proof.
“In short, Microsoft provides zero proof which can falsify allegations for which there is concrete proof.”Skype is spyware, but it is not alone in that category. Microsoft just has a tendency to turn software into spyware, as evidence suggests Microsoft has indeed derailed the proprietary program, which prior to the acquisition tried to openwash itself on numerous occasions. See the report “Skype: Reportedly Funneling Your Calls To PRISM Since 2011″ (when Microsoft bought it with financial assistance). This concurs with what we wrote at the time and now we have more proof.
Over at ZDNet, spin is solicited by the Microsoft henchmen. It is hardly different from Microsoft's Walli littering Open Source sites with Microsoft talking points (Red hat keeps letting Microsoft rewrite Free software perspective, even this week) and the MSBBC spinning it all in an insane fashion (painting Microsoft as a transparency advocate). The BBC — just like ZDNet — has former Microsoft staff at the forefront. Here is Microsoft’s ‘former’ staff Zack Whittaker (usually leading with antitrust talking points for Microsoft) delivering Microsoft talking points/PR to aid Microsoft in this latest scandal (don’t click this), missing the whole basis of the claims about NSA-Microsoft collision and then spreading the denial to other CBS sites (this is often mirrored in CNET). Also in ZDNet, a full-time Microsoft employee (one among few who act as ‘reporters’ in these sites) is making fun of PRISM/NSA critics. What a propaganda campaign. A lot of it quotes patent terrorist Brad Smith, who says nothing except “wait for an answer”, essentially saying nothing of use. Well, the Microsoft-faithful will take that at face value, even though The Guardian did contact Microsoft prior to the publication in order to verify the claims. Nothing is being shown as false and Microsoft’s choice of words helps verify the allegations. They are spinning by changing the subject and attempting to shift blame to the government. To quote: “A strongly worded letter from Microsoft’s general counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder says secrecy about National Security Agency surveillance is harming fundamental “constitutional principles.””
“Basically, Microsoft is now using a strawman argument to avoid denying what it cannot deny.”What utter nonsense. So Microsoft, which does all the surveillance, wants us to view it as the one fighting for us? Or pass blame to Holder? This oughtn’t work, but it might work for the Microsoft-faithful, who are already predisposed to favour Microsoft (or receive a paycheck from Microsoft). Microsoft is trying to have people accuse the government and describe/perceive Microsoft as law-abiding, but anyone with a clue can see an empty refusal to disclose information, boosted by pro-Microsoft ‘news’ sites (which are feeling weak right now, especially after the ‘reorg’ [1, 2, 3, 4] because it is mixes divisions again so as to hide losses in the other divisions, as Joe Wilcox once explained). Putting aside fluff that distracts, if one looks closely at Microsoft’s words, they phrase the denial in such a way that they can claim that it’s true, but they actually dodge debunking the accusations made. Everyone knows that they don’t hand out the encryption keys, they give back doors, which is not the same. What a red herring.
Basically, Microsoft is now using a strawman argument to avoid denying what it cannot deny. It helps the NSA crack — not directly access — its data. It just took them a week to come up with the official spin and wording, chanelled through media partners like IDG “falling for the weasel words,” as iophk put it (watch this headline which helps Microsoft deny a claim which was never made). Microsoft shows it’s good at responding to strawman arguments, addressing claim that was never even made, at least not semantically as such. How to lie professionally is a Microsoft expertise. Nobody said Microsoft gave “direct access” or “encryption keys” to the NSA, but Microsoft pretends this was the claim. It refutes the stuff which it made up on its own. The Guardian said that Microsoft teaches the NSA how to crack its systems (Windows, Skype, etc.). But count on poor journalism to help disguise all that. Microsoft can no longer smar Google over privacy with a straight face, so no wonder it is losing business. From the news this week we have:
Since Google Inc’s coup with Woolworth’s, the tech giant has added thousands of enterprise users in Australia.
Microsoft typically uses “privacy” to derail such deals, but now we know that even Microsoft’s desktop software is mostly spyware. As one person put it in the comments:
That’s a straight up lie if the NSA_Key fiasco is true, but it’s also a lie because they give NSA keylogging and direct control of user’s computers. Non free software always has this power over users.
Here is another comment: “Oh yeah, I’ve seen people defending Google that way. These are probably NSA talking points. Perhaps people at Microsoft came up with them but it’s a stinking pack of lies.”
This is probably true. It’s also true that Microsoft had a way out. They could have taken the fight public. They could have gone to the Guardian, the New York Times or to 60 Minutes and spilled the beans. United States security agencies are attempting, through legal means, to get us to compromise the security of the data of our clients that include sovereign nations.
This would’ve pissed the Obama administration off, as well as his Republican opponents, but it would have been the right thing to do.
Without a doubt, this path would’ve been risky. The folks at agencies like the NSA don’t play softball and in their league performance enhancing drugs have not been banned. There would be possible criminal repercussions. If that failed, bloated bodies might be found floating in Puget Sound as a warning to firms down in Silicon Valley. I’m not entirely kidding. As I say, these guys play hardball with rules only they know and which change from day to day, inning to inning, pitch to pitch.
Next on Microsoft’s agenda: watching your home in real time through Xbox One and watching the utility bill:
Talk about ironic timing. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was just slammed with accusations that it is collaborating with the U.S. government to promote massive spying efforts, and today the company announced the availability of its “Lab of Things”, a “near real-time” effort to track your home utility usage.
Microsoft cares about privacy like fish care about dairy products. Microsoft would die if it actually cared about privacy; its monkey business and its government’s defence of these business abuses are hinged upon control of the population, not servitude (a lot of people are actually grateful for services like Google search). People will stop to accept the Microsoft monopoly when they realise just how truly harmful it is. Russia is currently running away from its Windows-running PCs. █