Speaking at an event in Brussels, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith revealed that his company handed the FBI data linked to the Charlie Hebdo probe within an hour of being asked. He cited this as an example showing that this system can work and personal information and data should not be accessed or seized without proper legal process. Microsoft was able to conclude the request from the FBI “was proper, pull the e-mail content in question, and deliver it to the FBI in New York, all in 45 minutes.”
“If those in government want to shift the line between safety and privacy, the appropriate path is to do so by changing the law rather than asking those of us in the private sector to shift this balance by ourselves,” said Smith.
While “events and issues that touch safety, privacy, and the Internet have been moving forward at an accelerating pace” over the last 24 months, “for the most part the law has stood still,” Smith said. “Democratic societies, not private companies, need to decide on the balances to be struck between public values such as public safety and personal privacy.”
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