Microsoft has denied allegations that it collaborated with US and UK intelligence agencies to build a 'backdoor' in Windows to spy on Europe.
A French Ministry report on the vulnerability of the country's IT alleges that Microsoft collaborated with the UK and US to tap communications such as email.It has been suggested elsewhere that this was carried out using the so-called Echelon satellite spy network, a system which the US and UK governments deny exists.
The software giant is adamant that it does not leave backdoors in its products. "It is in keeping with our historical stance on this issue," the company said in a statement. "For instance, we have opposed the various key escrow proposals that have been suggested by the UK government, because we don't believe they are in the best interests of consumers or the industry."
Microsoft denied that a cryptographic key, called the NSA Key, within its CryptoAPI architecture can be used as a backdoor for government security agencies ."The keys can only be used to identify software components," it said. "There is no capability to use them to stop or start security services without the user's permission."
Microsoft confirmed that it holds two cryptographic keys - a primary and a back-up key - to verify digital signatures, but said "we do not share them with any third party, including the National Security Agency or any other government agency".
The company admitted that a third key existed in beta versions of Windows 2000, but said it did not constitute a backdoor and was only used as a test key by developers. The company denied that the third key is present in production versions of Windows 2000.
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