Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) gained some headlines when it bought video-chatting service Skype for more than $8 billion. So now that Skype is being folded into the Microsoft family and the Windows environment, there is one new stop that comes naturally.
Show your files. We want to know how much data you gather about Skype users.
Several groups have signed a letter to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) requesting that the company produce a transparency report, showing not only the types of, but also how much user data Skype collects, and to submit a report mentioning the numbers of data requests the company receives from government agencies and how much data the company submits to those agencies.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Twitter and other tech companies provide these similar reports. Skype is reportedly being used by about 600 million people worldwide.
The letter says that many people rely on Skype for secure communication, “whether they are activists operating in countries governed by authoritarian regimes, journalists communicating with sensitive sources, or users who wish to talk privately in confidence with business associates, family, or friends.” The letter adds that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has not established very clear guidance about the privacy or security of Skype user information, and users have confusion as to whether third parties would have access to data and what information could be made available.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has issued an official response. "We are reviewing the letter. Microsoft has an ongoing commitment to collaborate with advocates, industry partners and 2,112 governments worldwide to develop solutions and promote effective public policies that help protect people's online safety and privacy."
Should Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) comply and develop a transparency report as it relates to Skype users? How much does privacy matter, and if Microsoft had to give up data, how much would you be comfortable with? We'd like your thoughts about this story, or about Microsoft's earnings report, in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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