While Microsoft has always endeavored to let users know when unauthorized account access occurs, it has now come to light that the major company will now be informing its valued customers of any activity from government-sponsored hackers. If there is any suspicious activity in a user’s Outlook or OneDrive account, Microsoft promises to alert said user irrespective of where the hacking attack comes from. This decision followed the major hacking of email addresses by Chinese government officials in their bid to poke around in the sensitive information of leaders of Tibetan and Uighur minorities.
The United Kingdom government, among others, is particularly unhappy about the decision. The government on these shores uses access to civilians’ email addresses in a bid to snuff out terrorism, and as such there is a concern that a valuable channel of information will be lost. Microsoft could face legal challenges if the new Investigatory Powers Bill comes into play, a bill that will disallow major tech companies from warning clients against the spying practices of security organizations, such as GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters), MI5 and MI6.