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Microsoft condemns Russian crackdown on dissidents

01 Oct 10

Microsoft has come out in defence of users after it was reported that Russian authorities have been using accusations of software piracy to seize the computers of political dissidents.

The New York Times first ran the report claiming that Russian authorities were using piracy charges as a means of stifling dissent and gaining access to computers it wishes to monitor. Microsoft officials were quick to respond. "As general counsel for Microsoft, it was not the type of story that felt good to read,” said a blogpost by Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith.

"Whatever the circumstances of the particular cases the New York Times described, we want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain,” Smith said.

"We are moving swiftly to seek to remove any incentive or ability to engage in such behaviour,” he said.