Caspar Bowden: I Don’t Trust My Ex-Employer Microsoft After NSA Leaks

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Former Microsoft privacy advisor says he isn’t convinced by the security offered by the company’s tech

Former Microsoft privacy advisor Caspar Bowden has said he does not trust the company and does not have faith in the security of its technology, following the leaks of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Bowden was head of privacy policy for Microsoft across 40 nations from 2002 to 2011, but did not know about the US government’s PRISM programme, to which Microsoft is thought to have handed customer data since  it started in 2007, a conference in Switzerland heard yesterday.  At Microsoft, Bowden’s security remit did not include the US.

network scan machine fingerprint privacy security © Bruce Rolff ShutterstockBowden – who can we trust after NSA revelations?

“I don’t trust Microsoft now,” Bowden said, according to a report in the Guardian. He claimed he now only uses open source software so he could check the code for potential backdoors, and does not carry a phone.

It’s believed the NSA has the power to tap iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones.

The NSA has also allegedly tampered with much-used encryption, meaning many Internet users could be spied on despite claims they are safe.

“The public now has to think about the fact that anybody in public life, or person in a position of influence in government, business or bureaucracy, now is thinking about what the NSA knows about them,” Bowden added.

“So how can we trust that the decisions that they make are objective and that they aren’t changing the decisions that they make to protect their career? That strikes at any system of representative government.”

Before his stint at Microsoft, Bowden was director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), and a trustee of Privacy International.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in response: “We believe greater transparency on the part of governments – including the US government – would help the community understand the facts and better debate these important issues.  That’s why we’ve taken a number of steps to try and secure permission, including filing legal action with the US government.”

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