Ex-Microsoft privacy adviser: I don’t trust company after NSA revelations

Picture by Fernando Cavalcanti

Microsoft's former chief privacy adviser says he does not have faith in the security of the software company's technology, following revelations about the US's NSA spy agency published in the Guardian.

Caspar Bowden, who between 2002 and 2011 was in charge of the privacy policy for 40 countries in which Microsoft operated – but not the US – told a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, that he was unaware of the Prism data-sharing program when he worked at the company.

"I don't trust Microsoft now," he said, adding that he only uses open source software where he can examine the underlying code. He also said he has not carried a mobile phone for two years.

In June the Guardian revealed that an NSA program called Prism could demand data from a number of technology companies at will using court orders that were never rejected.

Bowden said the extent of the NSA's surveillance efforts – where it shares and gathers intelligence with the UK's GCHQ and intelligence agencies in Canada, New Zealand and Australia – was undermining democracy.

"The public now has to think about the fact that anybody in public life, or person in a position of influence in government, business or bureaucracy, now is thinking about what the NSA knows about them. So how can we trust that the decisions that they make are objective and that they aren't changing the decisions that they make to protect their career? That strikes at any system of representative..

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/30/microsoft-privacy-chief-nsa