In a speech given in Brussels on Tuesday, Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith said that after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in France, the company turned over the data requested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the French government in 45 minutes.
“Two weeks ago, the French Government found the content of emails from two customer accounts held by Microsoft while it was in the middle of a search for the Charlie Hebdo suspects,” Smith said. according to Bloomberg. In describing the request, Smith said Microsoft officials had to make sure the request was “good” before pulling the email content in question.
Smith continues to oppose moves by European Union countries such as UK Prime Minister David Cameron to allow more government spying and terrorism talks. In France and Germany, political leaders said on Tuesday that they “expect US Internet and social networking companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google to remove harmful content earlier from their services – or face new rules of he decided to force them to do so,” according to the Nasdaq news service. Cameron, too, recently said that if re-elected he would push to put a backdoor into all encrypted messaging systems.
A Microsoft lawyer pointed to his company’s participation as a sign that companies and the government can work together within legal constraints rather than through constant government snooping.
“If those in government want to tip the line between security and privacy, the proper way to do so is by changing the law rather than asking those in the private sector to tip that balance themselves,” Smith said. such as Los Angeles Times. “Democratic societies, not private companies, need to decide on the balance to strike between public values such as public safety and personal privacy.”