Microsoft Executive Claims Federal Authorities Frequently Spy on Customer Records

Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer security and trust testified that federal law enforcement agencies have been giving numerous gag orders as they accessed customer data.

Burt said during the House Judiciary hearing on abuse of power and prosecuting leaks that federal law enforcement agencies have been giving Microsoft between 2,400 to 3,500 secrecy orders a year, or about seven to 10 a day.

“Most shocking is just how routine secrecy orders have become when law enforcement targets an American’s email, text messages, or other sensitive data stored in the cloud,” said Burt.

Burt explained that abuses will continue to occur unnoticed if no reforms are not made.

“The fact that law enforcement requested, and courts approved, clandestine surveillance of so many Americans represents a sea change from historical norms,” added Burt.

The hearing was held after earlier this month, Justice Department prosecutors were found to have obtained records from tech companies about House Democrats, journalists, Intelligence Committee staffers, and former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn.

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