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IT-Director: Microsoft and the NSA: The Advantage of Open Source

Sep 06, 1999, 18:07 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Snark)

"While examining a copy of Windows code, Andrew Fernandes, a cryptographer, saw the label "NSA key" attached to the second decryption key. The label had apparently been left in the update accidentally, since it does not normally appear. Fernandes published his discovery on his company's Web site (Cryptonym Corp) suggesting that Microsoft had put the key there to allow the US NSA to snoop on PC users, by decrypting encrypted information.

Both the NSA and Microsoft are denying that this is the case, but then they would, wouldn't they. Microsoft says that key is a Microsoft key that is a fail-safe mechanism in case any problems emerge with the primary key. It also claims that the label was only a note to indicate that the key conformed to technical standards set by the NSA. The NSA simply issued a statement saying that it had no key-sharing agreement with Microsoft."

"...those who are deeply concerned with the shady activities of the NSA and feel threatened have found a good reason to support Open Source software. With Open Source software compiled using the open source gnu compiler such things simply cannot happen."

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