Tech companies have been under fire for providing a backdoor into databases and services to government agencies, namely the NSA. While that is a topic for another day, Microsoft has opened another one of its Transparency Centers in Brussels, Belgium. There are only two of these centers, the other is in Redmond, Washington at Microsoft’s main campus which opened about a year ago. Microsoft Transparency Centers are places that world governments can come and be given access to Microsoft’s source code for a number of products including Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista, Multiple iterations of Microsoft Server as well as Office products. The Transparency Centers are part of Microsoft’s Government Security Program, abbreviated GSP.
The GSP provides national governments with access to important Microsoft product and security resources, including:
- Access to source code for key Microsoft products
- Access to Transparency Centers to work directly with source code
- Vulnerability and threat intelligence from Microsoft
- Technical information about Microsoft products and services
- The “GSP for Cloud” capability
The program has grown significantly and now works with 43 agencies and 23 countries. This new Transparency Center in Brussels opens the door to the European Commission as well as agencies from the Middle East and North Africa.
It is our hope that, through the Government Security Program and this newest Transparency Center, we can increase communication and collaboration between Microsoft security professionals and governmental agencies in order to develop a safe and trusted digital environment for Europe’s Digital Single Market.
With Europe’s plans to lead the world in implementing digital technologies in its government and society, the Brussels Transparency Center indicates that Microsoft is interested in becoming a major player in that game. Establishing a good rapport and trust with the European Commission is the first step in doing that.
Any thoughts on Microsoft’s Transparency Centers? Regardless of how secure Microsoft’s products are, how do you think they will handle inevitable pressure from the NSA and other similar agencies? Let us know in the comments or on social media!