Times like these, with companies lined up, one after another, denying any knowledge of the NSA’s PRISM program, it’s difficult to know who to trust. But now we’ve got one reputable source who’s given us all the reason we need to be a little suspicious about Microsoft; that’d be their former Privacy Adviser, Caspar Bowden.
Yes, The Guardian is reporting that Bowden, while speaking at a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, claimed to have no knowledge about the PRISM program while working at Microsoft, and was quoted as saying, “I don’t trust Microsoft now.” He went on to make some fairly damning and trenchant remarks about the potential fallout from the PRISM program:
“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. 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.”
Bowden worked at Microsoft from the years 2002 through 2011, during which he was in charge of the software company’s security policy for 40 countries. Of course, everyone’s associated with any software company is denying knowledge of the PRISM program, so there’s reason to be leery about Bowden’s claims of ignorance, but his denial strikes us as thoughtful and sincere.