Feeds

Microsoft to build 'transparency centres' for source code checks

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.