Monday, July 23, 2012

InfoWorld critical of Microsoft-Skype snooping accusations, calls for greater transparency

InfoWorld has posted a response to the Salon blog post that I blogged about yesterday (Skype cooperation with law enforcement and privacy policy weasel words), arguing that the post was inflamatory and designed to "push all the paranoia buttons". (See: Microsoft-Skype snooping accusations push all the paranoia buttons | Cringely - InfoWorld.)

The conclusion of the InfoWorld post echoes that of the Slate post and my own post:

What Microsoft should do is issue a transparency report similar to the ones released recently by Google and Twitter, detailing the many requests it receives for user data from various and sundry government authorities. It should also officially publish the guidelines authorities must follow in order to request information, as well as what types of data are available and how long they are retained. That document [PDF] was made available via a leak to and is now four years old; I'd like a fresh copy, please.

That would be one way to dispel the notion that Microsoft is the evil bogeyman -- at least, more evil than all the other bogeymen. But it won't make for a very sexy headline.

It is about transparency. As I said yesterday, "Transparency/clarity = good. Weasel words = bad".

If Microsoft and Skype aren't clear about their abilities and their practices, people will make assumptions and they'll assume the worst. If calls for transparency are evaded, it's even worse.

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