Describe Microsoft's privacy principles


Microsoft’s products and services run on trust. At Microsoft, we value, protect, and defend privacy. We believe in transparency, so that people and organizations can control their data and have meaningful choices in how it's used. We empower and defend the privacy choices of every person who uses our products and services.

Microsoft's approach to privacy is built on the following six principles:

  • Control: Putting you, the customer, in control of your data and your privacy with easy-to-use tools and clear choices. Your data is your business, and you can access, modify, or delete it at any time. Microsoft will not use your data without your agreement, and when we have your agreement, we use your data to provide only the services you have chosen. Your control over your data is reinforced by Microsoft compliance with broadly applicable privacy laws and privacy standards.
  • Transparency: Being transparent about data collection and use so that everyone can make informed decisions. We only process your data based on your agreement and in accordance with the strict policies and procedures that we've contractually agreed to. When we deploy subcontractors or subprocessors to perform work that requires access to your data, they can perform only the functions that Microsoft has hired them to provide, and they're bound by the same contractual privacy commitments that Microsoft makes to you. The Microsoft Online Services Subprocessor List identifies authorized, subprocessors, who have been audited against a stringent set of security and privacy requirements in advance. This document is available as one of the data protection resources in the Service Trust Portal.
  • Security: Protecting the data that's entrusted to Microsoft by using strong security and encryption. With state-of-the-art encryption, Microsoft protects your data both at rest and in transit. Our encryption protocols erect barriers against unauthorized access to the data, including two or more independent encryption layers to protect against compromises of any one layer. All Microsoft-managed encryption keys are properly secured and offer the use of technologies such as Azure Key Vault to help you control access to passwords, encryption keys, and other secrets.
  • Strong legal protections: Respecting local privacy laws and fighting for legal protection of privacy as a fundamental human right. Microsoft defends your data through clearly defined and well-established response policies and processes, strong contractual commitments, and if necessary, the courts. We believe all government requests for your data should be directed to you. We don’t give any government direct or unfettered access to customer data. We will not disclose data to a government or law enforcement agency, except as you direct or where required by law. Microsoft scrutinizes all government demands to ensure they're legally valid and appropriate. If Microsoft receives a request for your data, we'll promptly notify you and provide a copy of the request unless legally prohibited from doing so. Moreover, we'll direct the requesting party to seek the data directly from you. Our contractual commitments to our enterprise and public sector customers include defending your data, which builds on our existing protections. We'll challenge every government request for commercial and public sector customer data where we can lawfully do so.
  • No content-based targeting: Not using email, chat, files, or other personal content to target advertising. We do not share your data with advertiser-supported services, nor do we mine it for any purposes like marketing research or advertising.
  • Benefits to you: When Microsoft does collect data, it's used to benefit you, the customer, and to make your experiences better. For example:
    • Troubleshooting: Troubleshooting for preventing, detecting, and repairing problems affecting operations of services.
    • Feature improvement: Ongoing improvement of features including increasing reliability and protection of services and data.
    • Personalized customer experience: Data is used to provide personalized improvements and better customer experiences.

These principles form Microsoft’s privacy foundation, and they shape the way that products and services are designed.