Digital Commons - Pirate Bay Facebook Microsoft full article

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Dec 19 20:17:25 GMT 2013


How come now one did this ? Its been legally 
obvious since the Guardian Snowden stories in June 96/7/8)

Anyhow, I grew tired of words, words, words. I 
acted. Can you get this to the network and start 
thinking about the millions who could take it up 
? Put Microsoft on the rack if not actually bust them.



  UK citizen sues Microsoft over Prism private data leak to NSA
Fiona O’Cleirigh
Thursday 05 December 2013 11:09

A British citizen's UK court action will test the 
legal right of Microsoft to disclose private data 
on UK citizens to the US electronic spying 
organisation, the National Security Agency (NSA).

The case will shine a light on the legality of 
top secret US court orders which require US 
technology companies to disclose details of 
foreign users’ private communications.

Kevin Cahill, a British journalist, has brought 
the case in the Lord Mayor’s and City of London 
County Court. The case centres on Cahill's belief 
that Microsoft breached the security of his email account.

Cahill argues that, by obeying orders that are 
legally binding only in the United States, 
Microsoft has contravened British law – the Data Protection Act in particular.

The action follows revelations by former US 
intelligence contractor and whistleblower, Edward 
Snowden. Snowden revealed that the NSA had been 
collecting metadata about email and other 
communications from Microsoft since 2007, under 
its controversial Prism interception programme.

The case will raise questions over the 
jurisdiction of secret orders made by the US 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court against 
US technology companies operating in the UK.

The other service providers named in the Snowden 
documents as contributors to the Prism programme 
are Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.
Technology companies shed light on government data requests

Earlier this year, Facebook published a Global 
Government Requests Report that lists the number 
of requests made by governments for data from the company.

In the first six months of this year, the US 
government made between 11,000 and 12,000 
requests to Facebook, covering the records of 
between 20,000 to 21,000 users. Some 79% of 
requests – which relate to either criminal or 
national security matters – were granted.

A Facebook web page titled Information for Law 
Enforcement Authorities states that, for 
international requests: “We disclose account 
records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law.”

In an official blog post dated 7 June 2013, 
Google denied having heard of the US Prism 
surveillance programme until the previous day and 
appealed for greater transparency. Companies are 
not permitted under US law to disclose details of 
requests made by the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Services Act (FISA).

“First, we have not joined any program that would 
give the U.S. government – or any other 
government – direct access to our servers,” the website stated.

“Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law.”
Far-reaching consequences

Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC said 
the action could have far-reaching consequences 
for Microsoft and other service providers, if it succeeds.

"Microsoft allegedly betrayed its customers by 
providing their personal information, without 
their consent, to the NSA," said Robertson.

"This would constitute a serious breach of the 
British Data Protection Act, by an American 
company putting its allegiance to America above 
its legal duties to its British customers."

Documents leaked by Snowden reveal that Microsoft 
assisted the NSA to circumvent the encryption on 
the email portal, including Microsoft’s popular Hotmail service.

The company also made it easier for the NSA to 
monitor its cloud storage service, Skydrive, 
which has over 250 million users worldwide, and 
its Skype telephone and video service.

A Microsoft spokesman told Computer Weekly: “We 
have been notified of an action being filed, and 
will be responding to it in due course. It would 
be inappropriate to comment further on the details of an active legal case."

Facebook and Google named

Cahill is seeking damages of £1,000 under the 
Data Protection Act. He has requested that the 
county court order Microsoft to reveal the 
contents of the orders made under the US Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

He has brought additional actions against 
Facebook and Google in the UK and their named UK 
directors. Facebook and Google declined to 
comment on Cahill's claims brought against them.
Invasion of privacy

Robertson said breaches of the Data Protection 
Act should be treated as seriously as the News of the Worldphone hacking case.

"The invasion of privacy, by deliberately 
declining to obtain a customer’s consent before 
exposing their personal details to another, 
deserves to be compensated on the same basis as 
obtaining personal data by hacking mobile telephones,” Robertson said.

John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley and an IT 
specialist with expertise in cryptography, supports Robertson’s view.

“I have looked at this issue in some depth and, 
notwithstanding the fact that they have avoided 
the question, I do think it is quite clear that 
US companies may well have broken UK law, and UK 
law does take precedence in the UK courts, so 
that would cost them a lot of money,” he said.
Concerns over Parliamentary data

The case has also raised concerns over the 
security of British parliamentary data, due to 
plans to use cloud services from Microsoft.

“Parliament proposes to use the cloud for its 
records in the future. I’m not sure it is right 
for us to give our data to a company that is 
controlled by FISA courts in the USA,” said Hemming.

In principle, the NSA has greater freedom to 
monitor the communications of overseas citizens than US citizens.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) 
court ruled that the NSA was required to separate 
American communications from foreign traffic – or 
breach the US Constitution’s fourth amendment – in October 2011.

The NSA’s Special Source Operations division 
refunds Microsoft and other data providers’ for 
complying with Prism surveillance orders. Prism 
costs the NSA $20 million per year.
EC seeks data controls

Following Snowden’s revelations, theEuropean 
Commission (EC) has threatened to freeze 
data-sharing arrangements with America, if it 
does not comply with European law.

The EC has demanded that redress in US courts be 
accessible to EU citizens whose rights have been infringed.

Robertson said Cahill was right to bring the case 
in light of the US government’s agreements with 
technology companies to harvest data from the internet.

“Customers whose data has been unlawfully 
transferred should sue them for breach of 
contract and breach of confidence," Robertson said.

Microsoft had sought permission from the courts 
to reveal the contents of the orders it received 
under FISA, the Guardian reported in June 2013.

+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
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"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.  
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