Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may have been deeper in this whole NSA PRISM surveillance thing than they have been trying to let on. You might recall when this years-long secret surveillance program was leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, representatives from each of the nine tech companies mentioned in the surveillance all come out with their own statements stating varying levels of vehemence that they did not willingly give up any user data or did they grant “direct access” to servers as the story in The Guardian newspaper alleged.
You may also recall that we expressed a bit of skepticism over the statements of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) when they gave their non-denial denials, being less-than-unequivocal about the program, saying that they did not give up any personal information that was not legally mandated or requested. Turns out, it seems our suspicions were rightly raised, as some evidence is coming out that seems to suggest that Microsoft might have know more about this program from the very beginning.
The latest report comes out of Skype, which Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) bought last year. The report by the New York Times says that since at least 2008, Skype – which at the time was under the control of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) – had started a secret program called Project Chess, which was designed to allow the NSA to snoop on Skype’s VoIP calling feature. The significance of this report is two-fold – first, the program was reportedly still in effect as of early 2013, and second, both Skype and Microsoft had denied all along that the NSA could not monitor Skype calls, especially since Skype claimed that the calls went directly Skype-to-Skype and had local encryption rather than traveling through the servers where the NSA could have tapped the calls.
This follows up on a similar denial by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) when it was asked whether it can monitor calls or chats on Skype.
At the time Microsoft denied it, but some rumors were reportedly confirmed later that Skype had indeed installed some monitoring infrastructure in its voice and chat services as far back as 2011, just before the Microsoft deal was announced. And the denial was shown to be not credible when a test of chat messages using newly created links had triggered initial website visits from a server that was known to be owned by Microsoft.
Yeah, this does not look good for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). What are your thoughts? Is it the surveillance that bothers you, more, or is it the rhetorical gymnastics that Microsoft is going through to try to deny its deep involvement? It is the universal question – is it the act, or the cover-up, that is ultimately worse? Give us your feedback int he comments section below.