A Microsoft spokesperson has denied fears that the US National Security Agency (NSA) placed surveillance technology into Windows 7.
"Microsoft has not and will not put 'backdoors' into Windows," a company spokeswoman said in a statement to Computerworld.
A NSA official told a Senate subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security on Monday that it had worked with the Vole during its creation of Windows 7 "to enhance Microsoft's operating system security."
The worry is that if the NSA was involved with the development of Windows 7 it might have put "backdoors" into Microsoft's code that would help it track users and intercept users' communications.
Since no one outside Microsoft except a few secretive government agencies and very large corporate customers can review its Windows 7 source code, most people simply have to take the Vole's word that there are no intentionally built-in security holes in it.
The executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Marc Rotenberg said that he was concerned that Microsoft might not have been able to turn the agency's assistance down, as the US federal government is an important customer.
He questioned whether the NSA should participate in OS development at all. "The key problem is that NSA has a dual mission, COMPUSEC, computer security, now called cyber security, and SIGINT, signals intelligence, in other words surveillance," Rotenberg said in an email.
But Microsoft claims that there is no cause for concern. The spokeswoman went on to say that the NSA's contribution was purely in conjunction with the Security Compliance Management Toolkit, which was rolled out last month.
Well that's alright then.