Microsoft provided information to British authorities after London attack
Microsoft came under fire from a British tabloid.
Microsoft has admitted to giving information to British authorities after the Westminster Bridge attack.
In a statement, the tech giant said it had received orders seeking email information related to the attack and it swiftly provided the information requested.
“Our team responded in under 30 minutes last week to verify that the legal order was valid and provided law enforcement the information that was sought,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Microsoft came under fire from a British tabloid, the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun newspaper, for an interview on ITV in which Smith said the company "will not help any government, including our own, hack or attack any customer anywhere". He added that Microsoft will turn over data when legally compelled to.
The Sun reported the interview with the headline: "Microsoft boss refuses Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s demand for more help on terror after Westminster attack."
In a statement, Smith reiterated that Microsoft is willing to comply to authorities in a matter of minutes, if the request is lawful:
“Our global team is on call 24/7 and responds when it receives a proper and lawful order. This of course is different from helping a government outside the rule of law to turn over private information or hack or attack a customer, which we’ve said clearly we will not do. We’re committed both to protecting public safety and safeguarding personal privacy, and we believe that proper legal process is the key to striking this balance.”
The Westminster attack has reignited the debate over encryption after reports the attacker, Khalid Masood, sent a WhatsApp message prior to the incident. It cannot be accessed because it was encrypted.
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is "completely unacceptable" and terrorists should have no place to hide. "We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other."