STATES CHRONICLE – Microsoft Corp. and the United States Government continue to not see eye to eye when it comes to user privacy. And at the core of the debate, both sides have valid arguments.
The US Government wants to keep its people safe from harm, and to achieve that, it wants to be able to access the private information of any potential suspect.
Microsoft believes in a free internet with a free cloud where user privacy still matters.
Privacy or Security?
Should the United States government be able to access the contents of a private e-mail account held by Microsoft, if the cloud storage data bank is in Ireland?
Well, if the answer is yes, then it means that with enough reason of suspicion, most companies in the North American continent would be under constant scrutiny by the government.
Half the reason why companies store data outside of the US is to guarantee user privacy and that they do not get leaked. It has repeatedly been proven that if any branch of the US Government is allowed to access data, then that data can and will also be accessed by hackers.
If the answer is no, then the government justice system and government agencies will not be able to best protect its people from oncoming dangers.
Microsoft believes that if the data is not physically located in the country, it is outside of US jurisdiction. The Justice Department does not have legislative reach outside of the country’s borders.
And while this is currently legally true, it has not stopped the United States government to constantly bombard Microsoft with search warrants to the point of harassment.
The United States Justice Department believes that companies using storage outside of US jurisdiction to keep information inaccessible are a bad precedent to make. The United States Government wants to sacrifice the privacy of the many to ensure the safety of the many.
Microsoft is not the only company caught in the crosshairs. Apple, Facebook, and Twitter have all been targeted for, according to the government, assisting criminal activities and impeding progress against the War on Terror.
From the public tribunes where we are all standing the entire situation just feels like, it will end badly no matter which sides wins the argument. Because, honestly, it is not an argument that can be won. This situation needs a middle ground, or better yet, a third alternative altogether.
It feels odd, knowing that in 2016 with all the technological and social progress humanity has done, the question of privacy or security still needs to be asked.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.