Microsoft to let foreign customers store data on non-US servers following NSA debacle

Jan 22, 2014
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Microsoft has made a decision that runs afoul of many tech companies' sensibilities -- allowing foreign customers to have their data stored on non-US servers. Such a decision was prompted by the NSA hoopla over the past months and concerns about customers' privacy. Spying revelations caused a backlash across the globe, and tech companies became the focus of much of that ire, spurring actions such as this.

Though this is breaking away from tech industry's standards, privacy advocates have praised the decision, saying that offshore storage that puts data under local laws will make it harder for the NSA to snoop. This follows laws-in-the-work in some locations -- Brazil among them -- that would require data to be stored locally, the reason cited being privacy concerns.

Such requirements have caused outcry among companies, and critics say these rules could result in an Internet broken up into scattered local systems. Beyond this, if such laws go into place, setting up local data centers in the required regions could be terribly burdensome on the financial spectrum. It's a tough issue on all sides, and continued NSA-related leaks aren't making it easier.

Said Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith to the folks at The Financial Times: "People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides."

SOURCE: Financial Times


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