Microsoft lets EU governments inspect source code for security issues

At transparency center, Microsoft lets governments verify its products are safe to use

Microsoft's Transparency Center in Brussels

Microsoft's Transparency Center in Brussels

European governments will be able to review the source code of Microsoft products to confirm they don't contain security backdoors, at a transparency center the company opened in Brussels on Wednesday.

The center will give governments the chance to review and assess the source code of Microsoft enterprise products and to access important security information about threats and vulnerabilities in a secure environment, said Matt Thomlinson, Vice President of Microsoft Security in a blog post. By opening the center, Microsoft wants to continue building trust with governments around the world, he added.

"Today's opening in Brussels will give governments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa a convenient location to experience our commitment to transparency and delivering products and services that are secure by principle and by design," said Thomlinson.

It is the second of its kind. Last June, the company opened a center in Redmond, Washington. The centers are part of Microsoft's Government Security Program (GSP), launched in 2003 to help create trust with governments that want to use Microsoft products.

National governments and international organizations that are part of the program can in principle inspect the source code of a list of 10 core products including Windows 8.1, 7 and Vista. They also get access to the source code of various versions of Windows Server and Office, as well as instant messaging client Lync, SharePoint 2010 and versions of Windows Embedded, according to Microsoft.

Depending on specific needs though, source code of other products such as Windows 10 may be accessed, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. Participants are able to run analysis tools against the source code in a controlled and secure environment, she said.

Currently there are 42 different agencies from 23 different national governments and international organizations who take part in GSP. In Europe, participants include the governments of the U.K., Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Sweden as well as organizations including the European Commission, the spokeswoman said.

Microsoft plans to expand the range of products included in these programs and to open other centers in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftsecuritygovernment

More about EUEuropean CommissionIDGMicrosoftNewsTwitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Loek Essers

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts