Microsoft has opened the doors to a new "Transparency Center” in Brussels, allowing European governments to review the source code of its products and access security information about the latest threats and vulnerabilities in a secure environment. This is the company’s second transparency center after launching the first one in Redmond a year ago.
With this the European Commission joins some other 41 agencies from different governments and international organizations worldwide as part of Microsoft's Government Security Program, which launched in 2003.
According to a blog post by Matt Thomlinson, Vice President of Microsoft Security, government investigators can comb through lines of code in Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, Windows Server Lync, SharePoint 2010 and versions of Windows Embedded. We’d assume Windows 10 will be included as well once the OS officially launches.
Source code for other Microsoft software may be accessed on a case by case basis, and the company says it plans to expand the range of products covered in the program as well as opening other centers in the future.
The move comes at a time when governments are growing increasingly wary about tech companies providing spy agencies with back door access to user data, particularly in the wake of Edward Snowden's NSA and GCHQ revelations.