Microsoft has announced plans to build two new data centers in Germany in order to serve its European cloud computing customers. What is unusual about these new facilities is that they will be operated by a German company that will act as the “data trustee.” Microsoft will not be able to access customer data unless it is granted permission by T-Systems, which will act as the trustee.
This unusual arrangement will help address customer concerns that U.S. government agencies might be spying on them. Under U.S. law, Microsoft is required to hand over user data if the government requires it to do so. But under this plan, Microsoft will not have access to the data and thus will not be able to comply with those demands.