PC Authority reports newly leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden suggest that Microsoft trained NSA and FBI agents to understand new features and circumvent encryption on web services. The report claims Microsoft handed over access to user e-mails and chat messages on Outlook.com and Hotmail prior to encryption, while also granting easier access to SkyDrive. On top of that, the article also mentions that the NSA boasted it could tap triple the number of Skype calls after Microsoft bought the company in 2011.
"For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption," said an internal NSA letter quoted by the newspaper.
The assertions tally with earlier reports that Microsoft may have given the agencies backdoor access to user messages, but this is the first time any practical detail has emerged. It isn’t clear what percentage of users may have been affected, but Microsoft has around 60 million users signed up to Outlook.com.
According to the documents, Microsoft also gave the NSA "easier access" to SkyDrive this year, used by around 250 million users. They also suggest that Microsoft trained agents to understand its new alias feature in Outlook.com.