Fresh Off The Block


Microsoft: “Don’t live in the US? Would you like to not store your data there?”

That is the question Microsoft are now asking all its non-American users, after implementing a new feature that will allow users of Microsoft services who registered as outside the United States to opt to have their data stored only on non-American soil.


Microsoft have become what appears to be the first United States-based company to offer those outside the US the option to store their data off of American soil; and it isn’t too surprising given how vocal they’ve been against lack of user privacy in the United States. They’ve been very unhappy with the revelations given to us thanks to Edward Snowden over the fact that the NSA have been spying on American citizens. They are also unhappy with the fact that their own networks have been used to monitor citizens in countries like Brazil and all over Europe as well. It’s also possible that the move may perhaps have an additional role as a subtle middle-finger to the Syrian Electronic Army, who have repeatedly hacked their American servers in recent months.


So far, Microsoft is the only major company offering explicitly non-US data storage, despite evidence that the NSA has also broken into the private networks of both Google and Yahoo.


While there’s no guarantee the NSA won’t be able to reach servers outside US borders, the move would offer an additional layer of protection, as local law enforcement is likely to respond more aggressively to agents of a foreign country. This of course assumes that Microsoft are serious about their commitment to protect the interests of their customers globally; and not just an act to maintain loyalty with customers outside of the US. There’s also still the unanswered question of what happens when data is transit – data may not be STORED on US servers, but could it still pass through one or more of them when the data is transit – for example, whenever you use a different Microsoft service?


We shall see… soon enough.

[Cross-posted to Sanitarium.FM]