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January 27, 2014

Microsoft to store foreign users’ data outside US

Consumers can choose the location to store their data from a range of existing Microsoft data centres.

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has confirmed plans to protect personal data of foreign customers on by storing them on servers located outside the US, in the wake recent illegal surveillance disclosures.

The company said it already operates data centres in Amsterdam and Dublin, and they will give customers greaters say in deciding where the data is stored.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith told FT that even though several tech firms were opposed to the idea, it had become necessary in the wake of leaks that revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been keeping an eye on data of foreign citizens from Brazil to across the EU.

"People should have the ability to know whether their data is being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides," Smith said.

The outrage over the NSA’s illegal internet surveillance activities and the mass collection of phone records has sparked tensions between the US and its closest allies, as well sparked a global criticism.

There have also been calls for strict privacy rules in Europe, while Brazil drafted a law that would necessitate all information about citizens to be held within the country.

Last month, Microsoft joined Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter formed a ‘Reform Government Surveillance’ group to call on US government over NSA spying activities.

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