Privacy concerns as NSA admits “helping” Microsoft

Richard Schaeffer

Richard Schaeffer

Security experts raised privacy concerns after a US National Security Agency official revealed that the Agency collaborated with Microsoft during the development stage of Windows 7. The revelation was made in a prepared statement by NSA information assurance director Richard Schaeffer, before the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, which operates under the Judiciary panel. Speaking during a hearing on cybersecurity on November 17, Schaeffer acknowledged that the NSA drew on its “unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft’s operating system security guide”. Schaeffer ‘s prepared statement is available on video here (forward to 32nd minute). Commenting on Schaeffer’s revelation, security experts and watchdog groups expressed privacy concerns, citing the Agency’s controversial domestic intelligence operations in recent years. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronics Privacy Information Center (EPIC), said “the obvious concern is [that the NSA has built] in back doors that enable tracking users and intercepting user communications”. This is the third time in recent years that the NSA is found to have collaborated with Microsoft in developing operating systems. The secretive Agency worked with the US-owned vendor on Windows 9X, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Vista.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Privacy concerns as NSA admits “helping” Microsoft

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  2. Chas Ward says:

    NSA helping Microsoft? Does this mean that at last the average desk top user gets a stable operating system or another lemon?

    One of the great tragedies of modern computing is that Microsoft cornered the market. The Mac and Linux platforms are much more stable and give little trouble but as someone who has been hacked, suffered identity theft and subjected to all manner of computer related nonsense through owning a PC, I think Bill Gates should be taken to the international Court of Justice in The Hague and tried for crimes against humanity.

    It is extremely unfortunate for people like me who are physically disabled and rely on speech to text software that Dragon NaturallySpeaking only runs on a PC otherwise, said machine would have been junked years ago. It’s time to let the Chinese have Microsoft and it could stuff up the vital components of their IT infrastructure and buy us some more time.

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