Russia to Apple, SAP: Give us source code, prove you're not spies

Russia to Apple, SAP: Give us source code, prove you're not spies

Summary: Russian officials have asked the companies to hand over their source code so it can be tested for surveillance capabilities.

Russia's Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications
Russia's Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications

Russia has requested that both Apple and SAP willingly hand over their software source code so it can be tested for spyware.

The nation's Ministry of Communications and Mass Media announced the request on Wednesday, with Communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov saying that checks are necessary to ensure the privacy rights of users, as well as maintain security for government agencies and corporate clients.

Russian officials claim that Microsoft is part of a project which gives Russian IT experts access to the source code of entire Microsoft software product lines to search for "undeclared capabilities," such as spyware or surveillance tools. Based on this logic, the ministry says that other companies should follow suit -- including enterprise software firm SAP and the iPad and iPhone maker.

Nikiforov commented:

"The revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013 and public statements of US intelligence to strengthen [the] surveillance of Russia in 2014 raised the question seriously [of] confidence [in] foreign software and hardware.

It is obvious that those companies that disclose the source code of their programs, not hiding anything, but those who did not intend to cooperate with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products."

The statement runs deeper, and what could be construed as a veiled threat is next. The Russian agency said that vendors who will not submit their products for testing could find "the use of such software and hardware in public companies or budget projects remains uncertain, because they themselves state customers will abandon the untested product in favour of trusted solutions."

This request could also be interpreted as a hint to favoring home-grown technological products in the future, in the same manner as China. The Asian country recently banned the use of Windows 8 in all new governmental computer systems, claiming that the operating system was a "potential threat" to security, and recently, China has issued an antitrust investigation into the Redmond giant. Chinese officials also labelled Apple's iPhone a "national security concern," stating that GPS-related technology in the gadget could act as a tunnel for data theft.

Topics: Apple, Privacy, SAP, Security, Software

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  • Sanctions always boomerang

  • Simply Amazing

    Looks like he is pushing to drive his country back into the 80's ....
    • Foreign policy from the 1940s

      And it's not like Russia even has anybody that understands that level of technology. This is probably an thinly veiled attempt at stealing the software, i.e. China.
      • Right... Its only in the US that people with ANY skill reside

        Funny that some people actually think that cave men live in all nations other than the US. "not like Russia even has anybody that understands that level of technology," oh really ?
        • Except to steal the code and technology and

          copy it. But really have you not paid attention to the "tech" that comes out of Russia and China? Seriously... do a little research.
    • I thought they were stuck in the 80's already

  • The old "trust but verify" gambit, eh?

    So then they see no spyware.

    But, having the source code, they can now see how best to insert THEIR spyware into the products (and perhaps see from the source how best to push a legitemate-looking 'update' to users of the modified code with their spyware in it) and now we've given them help spying on us.

    They don't trust us? Well, I'm not sure we trust them either.
    • TRUST??

      And I thought Snowden only revealed stuff about the US surveillance on every other nation in the World. With that reality out in the open it is surprising why you don't trust Russia and would rather stay a loyal ally of the United States of America.
      • And if Snowman didn't say it, it does not Exist

        So you actually believe the US is the only country in the world performing surveillance.
        Please pull your head out of your ___ so you can see that ALL governments do it.
        Some are just better at it than others, but its not for a lack of trying.
      • The Russian version of Snowden has been executed

        Not condoning what the US has done but clearly every other nation in the world, none the least of which includes China and Russia, is actively doing the very same thing to other nations. You haven't heard about it because the Russian Snowden has being tracked / surveilled more closely by the Russians and has likely already been executed. Just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean it isn't happening...
      • DENIAL??

        FaceBookZucks, I take it you claiming that Russia does not spy, nor has any interest in spying?

        Seriously, what else can one take from you post, beyond denying that Russia was ever interested in spying.
        • re: "Seriously, what else can one take from you post"

          The way I see it, FaceBookZucks is saying that trusting the United States government is about as prudent as trusting Mr. Putin and Co. And it is hard to argue with his point when even the congress is under surveillance
  • Most of the cyber attacks on US consumers and corporations originate from..

    You guessed it! Russia and China. If true, thanks Microsoft for putting us all at risk. But, thanks also for not being stupid enough to give the Chinese access to the Windows 8 source code.

    This is the new model for government-sponsored IP piracy. Pretend there is a threat, hand over the code to homeland companies to produce competing products. When will American companies wake up and realize, that cheap labor in China has an expensive long term cost.
  • Red herring

    No such thing as secure. Testing for something that does not exist (privacy). Whether it is or is not secure it is a simple thing to compromise. The truth is not so simple as a source code.
  • Don't Understand

    I don't understand who these people think they are. The entire world is busy trying to isolate Russia with economic sanctions and this guy is saying they don't trust Apple. As if anyone in the world trusts Russia at the moment. If I were Apple I'm going to ignore this request. In fact, working with the Russians at this sensitive moment could be a really bad move PR wise. Not to mention Apple could be opening back doors to Russian spyware when they get their hands on the source code.
    • Working with the Russians is bad PR?

      What about Tibet?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • In case anyone missed it, I was referring to China's occupation of Tibet

        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Just use FOSS

    No need to get into the foggy proprietary software, it is true for people, companies and countries
  • I'm of 2 minds about this.....

    On the one hand, I can easily understand why governments, NGOs, and companies would be worried about the NSA.

    On the other hand, however, this is Vladimir Putin that we're talking about here.

    Don't trust 'em, Don't trust 'em, Don't trust 'em!