Microsoft has admitted that it shared information from US internet service providers with the FBI, and now wants to stop doing so.
The company said it would no longer be able to access data held by ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable in response to the FBI’s request for information, and also said it will “reduce the scope of the sharing” of this data by limiting it to people who are part of an ISP group or company.
The FBI has asked for information about the number of accounts that Comcast, Time Warner and others shared information with over a period of months last year.
It says it is “likely” that it was the largest single share of data.
Microsoft said that it is a “core part of our business” and that it has shared data with law enforcement “in response to specific requests for information”.
The FBI said that the data could include the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of “millions of US Internet users” who are “at risk” of being targeted by a “criminal actor”.
“The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been using this data to disrupt and disrupt the operations of some of the largest, most sophisticated criminal enterprises in the world,” the FBI said in a statement.
“The companies are providing information about their networks to the law enforcement to help them prevent and disrupt attacks on US citizens and companies.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, Microsoft said: “We take privacy very seriously and will work with law enforcemenents to ensure that the information that we share with them is not shared with others.
We have zero tolerance for such activities, and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the information we share is only used for legitimate law enforcement purposes.”‘
Our data has been compromised’The FBI’s demand for data comes as US authorities have been seeking access to data from Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and other internet service companies as part of a massive data breach investigation.
The FBI has said that more than a million personal details were compromised in the hack.
“There are more than 2 billion users of the Internet, and as many as 2 billion devices on the internet, and if that number includes devices on our networks, it’s pretty much a significant amount,” FBI director James Comey told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
The Associated Press has contacted Microsoft for comment.