Just about any film that has watched spy movies is familiar with authorities asking a person to produce papers proving they are not a spy. According to a report by Reuters yesterday the Russian government is asking a similar question of United States technology giant Apple and European software giant SAP. The reason for the question was to make sure the two companies were not carrying embedded codes that could make their software government spying tools.
“The revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013 and public statements of US intelligence to strengthen surveillance of Russia in 2014 raised the question seriously the confidence of foreign software and hardware,” said Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov . “It is obvious that those companies that disclose the source code of their programs, are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to cooperate with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products.”
Some of you are probably asking “Why isn't Redmond-based Microsoft getting the same treatment?” The answer according to Mr. Nikiforov is that starting in 2003 the Redmond-based giant has been sharing all of their source with technology institute Atlas. Atlas then reports their finding to Russia government.
"Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programmes are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products," Nikiforov said.
With the except of open source that have an external revenue source, most companies kept their source codes a highly guarded secret. The reason for this is that the source code is what translates the software into basic machine language. Meaning that whoever has the source code has the power to modify the software. An good example is Linux since it is open-source there are dozens of variation of the software available.
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