Microsoft denies claims of helping Thailand government’s ability to spy on citizens

Kit McDonald

Microsoft Big Data

Another rumor has cropped to the surface about Microsoft’s privacy policies. This time, the tech giant is supposedly aiding the Thailand military government to potentially spy on users, according to the Inquirer.

The claims were made by Privacy International, a group that says Microsoft is supporting Thai military to fight opposition simply by allowing control of the root certificate authority.

The campaigning group wrote up a report titled “Who’s That Knocking At My Door?” that detailed their investigation on Thailand’s surveillance and pointed the finger at Microsoft directly. Research officer Eva Blum-Dumontet from Privacy International explained that the government of Thailand wasn’t to be trusted and by doing so, Microsoft was at fault.

“It is concerning to see that Microsoft trusts the Thai national root certificate by default when every other company we looked at – Apple, Mozilla and Google – appears to have made the decision not to trust it…Trusting a national root certificate from a country whose governments have a history of human right violations and a poor record on civil rights and freedom of speech should not be taken lightly.”

Microsoft spokesperson responded to the claims obviously announcing that the tech giant hadn’t any such involvement.

“Microsoft only trusts certificates issued by organisations that receive Certificate Authority through the Microsoft Root Certificate Programme. This programme is an extensive review process that includes regular audits from a third-party web trust auditor. Thailand has met the requirements of our program and you can review the details of the latest audits here and here (PDF). This thorough review, backed by contractual obligations, is not reflected in Privacy International’s assessment of the risks.”

What do you think about the accusations of Microsoft allowing Thai military government access user data? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments below or tweet at us @OnMSFT