Feeds

Microsoft to build 'transparency centres' for source code checks

Governments invited to Brussels for a look up Redmond's skirts

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Microsoft has announced it will establish a set of "transparency centres" around the world, at which government clients can rifle through its source code to satisfy themselves it contains no back doors.

Announced last week at the Munich Security Conference, Microsoft's veep for security Matt Thomlinson said the centres “...will offer government customers an increased ability to review our source code” and advance “our long-standing program that provides government customers with the ability to review our source code, reassure themselves of its integrity and confirm there are no back doors.”

Just how many transparency centres will be created, or where they will be, is not disclosed. Redmond doesn't seem to be in a hurry to build them: Thomlinson's announcement says “It is my hope to open the Brussels Transparency Center by the end of this year.”

One by the end of the year? Take that, NSA and other oppressors of liberty.

Whatever the scale of the effort, the announcement continues a pattern of Microsoft activities pointing out that its software doesn't leak so much as a bit in the direction of anyone you wouldn't want to see that bit.

Just what level of access to source code is not, however, explained. Last December, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith wrote that the company believes in giving government customers “an appropriate ability to review our source code, reassure themselves of its integrity, and confirm there are no back doors.” Is that appropriate to customers? Or appropriate to Microsoft inasmuch it will allow comfort without compromising code declared commercial-in-confidence but which could conceal something interesting?

Yes, that observation is a tad cynical. But also, surely, is announcing a network of “Transparency centres” by revealing the existence of just one and giving that facility a far-from-taxing aspirational opening date eleven months from now. And what's with the name, “Transparency centres”? Orwell himself didn't do much better with the Ministry of Truth.

Thomlinson also floated another idea at the conference, namely a “'G20 + 20' group – 20 governments and 20 global information and communications technology firms – to draft a set of principles for acceptable behavior in cyberspace.” That body, he said, could help to rebuild trust in technology that has been so badly disturbed by recent revelations. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.