Microsoft: U.S. Constitution is ‘suffering’ from NSA secrecy

Microsoft asked the Obama Administration to allow it to reveal details about how it responded to orders from the government for user account data.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder saying there is “no longer a compelling government interest” in preventing companies from “sharing more information” about how they respond. That is especially true the letter said, when this information is likely to help “allay public concerns” about warrantless surveillance.

“The Constitution itself is suffering” from “ongoing” secrecy, Smith said in his letter to Holder, adding that “it will take personal involvement of you or the President to set things right” last week, according to Smith, Microsoft requesting permission to divulge more information in an effort to clear its name, but the Justice Department “rejected” their request.

CNET reported last Friday that the U.S. government has threatened Internet companies with installing surveillance devices on their networks if they do not help with surveillance requests.

The article disclosed that Microsoft had created a wiretap compliance system to respond to legal orders for surveillance directed at Hotmail accounts — a process that prevented government surveillance devices from being installed. The government has previously installed surveillance devices on networks owned by Verizon Business and EarthLink.