Microsoft is trying to limit the amount of consumer data a government can access. The government access to private data has been up for debate for a long time now. Microsoft is now calling out governments of all the major countries to come forward and create an international law that limits the access to personal data as well as lays down rules for the access of data when needed.
As a global company entrusted by millions of users, we believe it is important for Microsoft to make clear how governments should address these issues. For that reason, we are sharing six principles that have driven, and will continue to drive, our advocacy as governments reform their laws and negotiate international agreements.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith published six principles he thinks should govern the process by which law enforcement agencies can get access to consumers’ data. You can head down to read more about the six principles.
- The universal right to notice – Absent narrow circumstances, users have a right to know when the government accesses their data, and cloud providers must have a right to tell them.
- Prior independent judicial authorization and required minimum showing – Law enforcement demands for content and other sensitive user data must be reviewed and approved by an independent judicial authority prior to enforcement of the order, and only after a meaningful minimum legal and factual showing.
- Specific and complete legal process and clear grounds to challenge – Cloud providers must receive detailed legal process from law enforcement to allow for thorough review of the demand for user data, and must also have clear mechanisms to challenge unlawful and inappropriate demands for user data.
- Mechanisms to resolve and raise conflicts with third-country laws – International agreements must avoid conflicts of law with third countries and include mechanisms to resolve conflicts in case they do arise.
- Modernizing rules for seeking enterprise data – Enterprises have a right to control their data and should receive law enforcement requests directly.
- Transparency – The public has a right to know how and when governments seek access to digital evidence, and about the protections that apply to their data.
Microsoft also attached a pdf file for those interested in reading more on the principles mentioned above. Data privacy has been an important issue for companies and customers around the world. With the new principles in place, Microsoft aims to make sure that government follow those procedures before approaching Microsoft to access the user data.