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London Terror Attack: Microsoft Provided U.K. Authorities with Data ‘within 30 Minutes’ of Request

Microsoft has been heavily criticized for refusing to comply with U.K. government orders following the London terror attack. However, the Redmond giant has clarified that it did comply with legal requests, and did so very quickly.


The London terror attack last week left four dead and many injured in an event lasting fewer than ninety seconds. Involving just a car and a knife, it highlighted how difficult it is to prevent casualties in such scenarios.

As a result, home secretary Amber Rudd called for a lessening of encryption in WhatsApp, which attacker Khalid Masood used before the attack. However, isn't the only tech company that has come under fire over the events.

Media outlets like the Sun criticized after chief legal officer told ITV “we will not help any government, including our own, hack or attack any customer anywhere.”

Publications quickly took the statement out of context, with claims that Microsoft did not comply with Rudd's demands. MP James Berry claims “Companies like Microsoft are putting their own branding ahead of .”

Thirty Minute Response Time

However, Microsoft did indeed comply with the government order. Smith's initial response always said the company turns over data when “legally compelled to”.

The London terror attack last Wednesday was no different, and Microsoft has released an amendment.

“Microsoft confirmed that it had received last week lawful orders seeking email information relating to the terrorist attack in London, and that it had promptly provided the information requested. This follows prompt action when Microsoft responded to 14 lawful requests following the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris and the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015,” said a spokesperson.

Our team responded in under 30 minutes last week to verify that the legal order was valid and provided law enforcement the information that was sought,” Smith added. “Our global team is on call 24/7 and responds when it receives a proper and lawful order. This of course is different from helping a government outside the rule of law to turn over private information or hack or attack a customer, which we've said clearly we will not do. We're committed both to protecting public safety and safeguarding personal privacy, and we believe that proper legal process is the key to striking this balance.”

Whatever your thoughts on privacy, it's hard to argue with the company's logic. It simply follows the law and doesn't disclose customers information unless it has to. However, with pressure in the U.K. to remove investigation barriers, it's hard to say how long that stance will fly.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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