Microsoft has responded to reports regarding its role in intercepting private Skype and email transmissions to assist the National Security Agency.
Posting on TechNet, Microsoft legal and corporate affairs general counsel and executive vice president Brad Smith detailed the nature of cooperation that the company provided to the NSA, and has requested action from the attorney general of the United States to "permit Microsoft and other companies to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information."
The post breaks down in detail how information on Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), Skype, and SkyDrive is shared to comply with government legal demands.
According to the post, no government gains "direct and unfettered access" to customer data; rather, the process is managed by Microsoft, which provides "specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand."
"To be clear, we do not provide any government with the ability to break the encryption, nor do we provide the government with the encryption keys," the statement said.
Microsoft asserts that requests for data by any government are required to follow the relevant legal process, including the "producing of a court order for content or subpoena for account information." This process does not exclude requests for national security purposes.
The post revealed that customers who have been subject to a government demand represent "fractions of a percent."
Obligations to comply with government laws are not limited to the United States, and Microsoft states that legal demands for customer data are applicable globally.
Microsoft revealed earlier this year that Skype would be integrated into its next-gen Xbox One console. The console will support Skype video calling via Kinect voice and utilise gesture controls to execute onscreen actions.