Russia asks SAP, Apple for source code
Communications Ministry wary over Edward Snowden revelations, report says
Russia's government has warned SAP and Apple to hand over their source code or risk being cut out of contracts with Russian government agencies, according to a Reuters report.
The proposal was made by Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, who met with the Russian heads of the two companies last week, the report said.
In a statement, Nikiforov said that Russia's government was looking to protect the interests of consumers and corporate users, who it says could be at risk from having their personal data intercepted. Nikiforov made references to last year's Edward Snowden revelations that allege the United States National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdrops on users of popular technology platforms.
"Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware," Reuters quoted Nikiforov as saying.
Since the Snowden allegations, many security researchers have come forward claiming that US-made technologies come with secret backdoors that can grant security services access to data on the platforms. Only last week, Apple was accused of secretly continuing to build upon a backdoor in its iOS mobile operating system.
Russia, then, is challenging SAP and Apple to come clean about their security operations. Nikiforov said that the two vendors would comply if they had nothing to hide.
However, it is not a decision the two companies will make lightly. For any large software company, the source code is a closely guarded secret, and the two may have concerns about letting their source codes fall into the wrong hands as a result of handing them over to Russia's government.
Russia's Communications Ministry has had access to Microsoft's Windows source code for more than a decade, Reuters said.