If you're wondering who the hell still uses Hotmail, now we know: the NSA. The corporate refrain of We're just doing what the feds make us do! is a little less credible, with a new report from The Guardian detailing Microsoft's efforts to help Prism work better.
The leak, via Snowden, of course, shows US national security personnel describing their spying efforts with Microsoft as a "team sport," while the tech mammoth served up new backdoors for the revamped Outlook.com before it even opened to the public. SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage system for personal files, as well as Skype, were similarly unpackaged for Prism. The work was done far before it was necessary, according to The Guardian—this was an effort by Microsoft to make the NSA's job easier.
In a statement to The Guardian, Microsoft maintains it's only doing what it's forced to do by law:
We upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request.
But according to more damning details from Snowden's Prism trickle, this just isn't the case:
The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft's Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.
Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats
It goes on. If true, the two can't be reconciled at all—that's collaboration at its most arrant. You're either doing the bare minimum, with a heavy heart, or you're working with the government to beta test spying tools for websites people can't even use yet. Microsoft can't "stand up for user privacy" with tech press release boilerplate if it's already been lying down for years.