As the web spying scandal grows, the latest report from the Guardian claims that Microsoft worked with the US spies so they could access emails, including Hotmail, and listen in on Skype video calls to view the messages, before they were encrypted.
While it was previously reported that the NSA scooped up vast quantities of user communications, it was not known that they were getting access to unencrypted data.
The documents, seen by the Guardian newspaper and provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, appear to demonstrate the level of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence services over the past three years.
The report claims that the NSA agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail.
The company also worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide.
Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases.
In addition, Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio.
Microsoft defended its actions, saying it was legally obliged to collaborate with the government and not allowed to disclose the partnership.
Microsoft and other Silicon Valley firms have independently lobbied the government for the ability to disclose more details of their relationship with the American intelligence community .
Read the full Guardian report here