Microsoft’s Beijing Transparency Center gives Chinese government access to Windows source code

Microsoft has opened an office in China that allows the Chinese government to check the sourcecode of the software giant for backdoors and other risks. The office is based in Beijing and similar offices can also be found in Brussels and Microsoft’s hometown Redmond.

myce-microsoft-Logo-2

The Beijing office can not only be used by the Chinese government but also by governments of other Asian countries.  The offices are called ‘Transparency Centers’ and are designed “to increase trust in Microsoft’s offerings”.

They allow governments to review Microsoft’s products such as Windows and Office but also services such as OneDrive and Outlook.com. The Transparency Centers should also provide information on how the company deploys its security measures. While Microsoft provides access to its source code, the products remain proprietary and protected in the Centers.

Microsoft stresses that governments can review code but can’t alter what is delivered to customers.

“For government customers, our work in the area of transparency is particularly critical as they want to know with a high level of assurance that our products are engineered to withstand the security threats they see every day”, Microsoft writes on its blog.

Microsoft also announced that more Transparency Centers  will be announced in the coming weeks.