Bahraini Government gets behind Windows

The Kingdom of Bahrain today signed the Government Security Programme (GSP) with Microsoft, which allows access to Windows source code and detailed operating system technical information to improve IT security and support.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  January 26, 2004

The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has today signed the Government Security Programme (GSP) agreement with Microsoft Corporation. The GSP agreement provides the government of Bahrain with access to Windows source code as well as detailed operating system technical information and guarantees around the clock technical support directly from Microsoft. H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa, Minister of Central Informatics Organisation from the Government of Bahrain signed the agreement with Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect for Microsoft Corporation. The signing ceremony took place during the Government Leaders Forum Arabia 2004, held in Cairo, in the presence of H.E. Ali Saleh Al Saleh, Minister of Commerce “Microsoft has listened to our security needs in matters ranging from national defence to protection of our citizens' personal data. GSP addresses not only our unique security requirements, but it also allows us to protect our investments in value added software components,” says H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ateyatalla Al Khalifa. Source code is the readable form of code typically created in a high-level programming language such as C, C++, Java, which when converted to machine-language object code by a computer compiler or interpreter runs the operating system or the application. Launched in January 2003, the GSP is a Microsoft effort to address the IT security requirements of governments throughout the world by providing them access to the Windows operating system source code and technical information to decrease security risks. Since its launch, more than 27 governments around the world are part of this programme with the rights to reviewing Windows source code. With several governments such as China, Thailand, Germany, Brazil and other governments in the Middle East opting for Linux and the open source platform which includes complete unrestricted access to all source code, industry observers believe the move by Microsoft is more of a compulsion to compete with Linux — which is a sharp contrast with Microsoft’s earlier practice of closely guarding it’s source code from other software vendors or governments. The GSP also enables government personnel to work jointly with Microsoft security experts and developers for the purposes of validating security features as well as experimenting and pursuing other objectives identified by programme participants. In addition to source code access we are providing technical documentation, methods for troubleshooting, access to cryptographic tools subject to export controls are included in the programme. “At Microsoft, we view governments that utilise our software as trusted partners. The GSP will provide governments with the opportunity to assess the security and integrity of the Microsoft products they deploy,” says Samir Benmakhlouf, business development manager of Microsoft Bahrain.

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