- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

MOSCOW (Agence France-Presse) Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday that it had provided the programming code of its Windows operating system to the Russian government to boost national security.
Microsoft said Russia was the second country, after the United States, to be given the source code as part of its new Government Security Program, an initiative to provide governments and international organizations with information about Windows in an effort to promote security.
Microsoft said in a statement that the move marked a "serious act of trust because the Russian side receives access to technologies developed by Microsoft that had previously been inaccessible."
Microsoft, the software giant, has also signed a similar agreement with NATO and is in discussion with about 20 other governments cooperating with the program.
The agreement was signed between Microsoft representatives and FAPSI, a wing of the Russian intelligence services that monitors information technology and communications, as well the Russian government-run Atlas technology center.
"Information security is a very serious problem," Atlas Director General Boris Girichyov said in a statement.
"This agreement underscores the level of trust toward Windows in the government structures," he added.
The move allows governments to verify security within the Windows system and to create their own programs with tougher protection against intruders.
Some security experts have questioned whether the dominant Microsoft system could pose security problems in case of an attack by hackers.
The initiative comes amid a lobbying campaign by Microsoft to discourage government agencies in the United States and abroad from embracing free, open-source software, especially the Linux operating system.


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