The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has criticized Microsoft’s recent announcement that Redmond was going to reinforce encryption and increase legal transparency to tackle government snooping.
Microsoft likened Government snooping to ‘advanced persistent threats’ and put forward a three-fold approach to tackle such issues. Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft said that Redmond will be taking actions in three areas which will involve encryption for all its services, enhanced transparency of its software code and reinforced legal protection for customer data.
FSF Executive Director John Sullivan said that Microsoft’s promises were meaningless. Sullivan said that Microsoft’s software is fundamentally insecure because of the code is hidden away from users.
“Proprietary software like Windows is fundamentally insecure not because of Microsoft’s privacy policies but because its code is hidden from the very users whose interests it is supposed to secure”, said Sullivan.
“A lock on your own house to which you do not have the master key is not a security system, it is a jail”, he added.
Sullivan said that when code is not open for review and modification, the system will inevitably be open to back doors, privacy violations and vulnerabilities. Sullivan said that Microsoft’s transparency promises are no solution to the back door problem.
He further added that transparency doesn’t mean just a peak at the source code or “access granted to outsiders covering very limited portions of source code under strict agreements that limit sharing that information.”
“The solution after Microsoft’s announcement is the same as it was before its announcement. Just like Microsoft’s former chief privacy adviser, switch to a free software operating system like GNU/Linux, and don’t look back.”