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Is the NSA in Your OS? January 10, 2007

Posted by publicpolitics in Coporate Policies, Surveillance.

When Microsoft introduces its long-awaited Windows Vista operating system this month, it will have an unlikely partner to thank for making its flagship product safe and secure for millions of computer users across the world: the National Security Agency.

Washington Post

Microsoft has acknowledged receiving security help in the manufacture of Windows Vista from the National Security Agency. That is the same agency that brought us unannounced and unwarranted (literally) domestic spying, and so the idea of a corporate-government collaboration on the construction of an OS that will soon be in widespread use is, to some of us, not exactly comforting, and I am unabashedly one of those people who turns a little green given the idea that a company with a large, to say nothing of dominating, potential to collaborate with the government on creating back doors for unauthorized access to my hard drive may be doing just that.

Of course, there is no overt reason to think that Microsoft has willingly allowed such intrusions, nor is the collaboration any reason to run out and buy a computer from Apple, whose OSX was also developed with help from the NSA. The problem is, we don’t have any evidence that the NSA is not up to something both nefarious and secret. Their recent track record is enough to induce skepticism about their motives, and they are certainly powerful enough to compel corporate silence.

In short, while we cannot say that the NSA is up to something bad, we cannot gain any peace of mind from their recent record. And that distrust is the high price of their secret spying.

Tags: long-awaited | users | unlikely | SECURE | PARTNER | operating | Millions | making | introduces | FLAGSHIP | Computer | windows | Vista | Pros | Politics | Microsoft | called | agency


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