Microsoft to provide source codes to Russia

Microsoft has signed an additional agreement under Government Security Program (GSP) with Russia's Atlas Centre, a state-run security software developer, to let government agencies study the source codes for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and the SQL Server operating systems as well as the Office 2010 software suite, reported Vedomosti, a financial daily.

The GSP provides national governments with information to help them evaluate the security of Microsoft products. The programme is available to more than 65 geographic markets with intellectual property regimes that meet international standards.

Access to source codes enables programmers from the Atlas Centre to develop encryption protection for Microsoft products and allows the government agencies, including those responsible for national security, to use them in their daily work.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) would also be able to certify entire software platforms rather than separate products for secure use of electronic document management and protection of personal data. In addition, Atlas and the FSB would be able to share their findings about the security of Microsoft's codes with other government agencies.

The initial 2002 agreement under GSP granted access to coding for the Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2000 operating systems. Microsoft was interested in expanding its business with the Russian government, which gives about 10 per cent of the revenue in Russia, Microsoft Russia President Nikolai Pryanishnikov was quoted as saying by Vedomosti.

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