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New leaks reveal that internet giant Microsoft helped the National Security Agency tap into user data, including audio and video calls.
New leaks reveal that Microsoft was involved with American intelligence agencies in spying on its users.
The Guardian reported that leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden show that the internet giant helped the National Security Agency (NSA) tap into user data, including audio and video calls.
The top secret documents show that Microsoft gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the NSA access to Skype video calls, Outlook and Hotmail accounts. They also allowed the intelligence agencies to peer into its cloud storage service, SkyDrive.
The spying occurred through the secret PRISM program that was exposed by documents leaked by Snowden last month. The spying on Skype users apparently began in late 2011, many months before it was purchased by Microsoft.
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It was previously believed that Skype was free from the possibility of wiretapping, but the new revelations demonstrate that authorities can access video calls and audio from the program's estimated 663 million users.
Microsoft has previously denied allowing the NSA access to user information. In a brief statement Thursday, Microsoft said that it only gave up customer data when the government specifically requested it.
"To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product," the company said in a statement on its website.
"There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues."
Microsoft recently launched a new ad campaign with the slogan: "Your privacy is our priority."
More from GlobalPost: Snowden says he never gave Russia or China intelligence information
Major internet companies have said that they need to be more free in revealing the extent of government requests for data, particularly in light of allegations of massive US spying on internet users around the world.
Also on Thursday, French human rights groups filed a lawsuit against the government in Paris in a bid to prompt investigations into revelations by Snowden. The lawsuit is an attempt to explore whether the NSA and major US internet companies violated French privacy laws.