Microsoft says it will let users choose where data is stored, but things aren’t that simple

Gigaom

Microsoft(s msft)’s top lawyer has said the company will let non-U.S. customers choose to have their data stored outside the U.S. To an extent, this would be a boon for the privacy of the firm’s foreign customers — but privacy advocates should dampen their enthusiasm.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, told the Financial Times (subscription required) late Wednesday that a European customer, for example, could select Microsoft’s Irish data center for its storage:

“People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides.”

Firstly, I’m not sure how much this counts as Microsoft “breaking ranks” with other big U.S. tech firms, as the article suggests. U.S. firms storing non-U.S. data outside the country is no novelty – it’s not purely a…

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