Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Does the NSA really have influence over Microsoft?

Last response: in Windows 7
Share
a b $ Windows 7
November 20, 2009 3:11:53 AM

Quote:
Today's categorical denial by Microsoft was accompanied by further explanation of exactly how the NSA participated in the making of Windows 7. "The work being discussed here is purely in conjunction with our Security Compliance Management Toolkit," said the spokeswoman.


More here.

I don't think so... someone experienced enough would've found backdoors, causing enough uproar and severely damaging Microsoft's reputation.
a b $ Windows 7
November 20, 2009 4:51:37 AM

It wouldnt surprise me if there was at least some level of consulting going on. I also kinda doubt that backdoors are being implemented in the code but you never know.

The NSA is the largest and least know of the intelligence agencies and im pretty sure they can and do intercept most electronic transmissions. I think its really more of a having the resources to filter all the information they intercept problem than it is an intercepting the data in the first place problem.

Its not like anyone who works there is going to tell us they did pretty much write the book on cryptography.
m
0
l
November 20, 2009 2:06:12 PM

Unlike anort3... I've always had a suspicion that the various holes and bugs in Windows could have easily been back doors placed there for government (CIA, NSA, etc) use. Microsoft was fairly close to being broken up by our government a few years back... with that sort of arm twisting I can imagine Microsoft saying UNCLE and deciding to work with Big Brother in exchange for remaining a single entity.

I also think this explains our government's continued reliance on Windows instead of more open alternatives... if open source truly takes over the world, our government would lose a large part of its ability to snoop on us. The longer Windows hangs around, the longer they have that ability. I would wager that less than .0001% of the users of Windows have actually seen the source code that makes it tick. We just don't know what code is in there.

I know this is an old article, but it does show what our government is capable of...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_%28software%...

Exploiting an OS weakness in order to compromise a suspects computer... well, gee... if they're willing to do that once surely they'll want to retain that ability going forward.

Yeah yeah... I know this makes me sound crazy, but I do believe this could be the way things work.
m
0
l
Related resources
November 20, 2009 8:59:56 PM

Well good thing believing in something isn't enough to set it as fact or even as an educated guess.
Window having a back door for the NSA is ridiculous for two main reasons that would make this a fail method of obtaining evidence:
1) It is illegal.
2) Why would they do this if it's illegal. Any illegal activity caught using such exploits would fall under unusable evidence, thus causing more issues then not. Unless the judicial system will over look such illegal activity, in which case our last concern would be illegal search methods but making up of false evidence to convict a person. Sure the NSA may pester the individual, but a simple federal court order and a handsome cash payout to the harassed would settle it.


Does Windows have a backdoor? It would go against logic as a tool to detect criminal activity or security threats, so no. I am not even getting into Microsoft's invested interests.

@ rodney_ws, when did the government almost shut down Microsoft? And for what alleged reason, antitrust act? I haven't heard of the government shutting down a company due to the anti trust act. Usually bankruptcy beats the government to shutting down a company. The only one I can think of was Rockefeller's Standard Oil company breakdown. Even then it wasn't a shut down just a severing of ties to basically all of it's 70 companies.
m
0
l
a b 8 Security
a b $ Windows 7
November 20, 2009 9:13:49 PM

Q. Does the NSA really have influence over Microsoft?

A. Yes, just like we have influence on TH, in stopping them posting US stories on the UK site.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 20, 2009 10:21:17 PM

AsAnAtheist said:

2) Why would they do this if it's illegal. Any illegal activity caught using such exploits would fall under unusable evidence, thus causing more issues then not. Unless the judicial system will over look such illegal activity, in which case our last concern would be illegal search methods but making up of false evidence to convict a person. Sure the NSA may pester the individual, but a simple federal court order and a handsome cash payout to the harassed would settle it.


Not saying it is or it isn't but illegal investigative techniques are used every day. "Legal" didn't matter either for anyone at Guantanamo Bay. If I suspect you of being a drug dealer and I tap your phone, that's illegal and anything I hear can't be used in court. But if I hear you set up a buy and I "just happened" to be staking out the location "on a hunch" the illegal wiretap never needs to get introduced in court.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 20, 2009 10:37:06 PM

The legallity of any survellience only matters if it goes to court. Pretty sure a Paveway or JDAM does not care if it was targeted "legally" or not.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 21, 2009 12:41:40 AM

AsAnAtheist said:
Well good thing believing in something isn't enough to set it as fact or even as an educated guess.
Window having a back door for the NSA is ridiculous for two main reasons that would make this a fail method of obtaining evidence:
1) It is illegal.
2) Why would they do this if it's illegal. Any illegal activity caught using such exploits would fall under unusable evidence, thus causing more issues then not. Unless the judicial system will over look such illegal activity, in which case our last concern would be illegal search methods but making up of false evidence to convict a person. Sure the NSA may pester the individual, but a simple federal court order and a handsome cash payout to the harassed would settle it.


Does Windows have a backdoor? It would go against logic as a tool to detect criminal activity or security threats, so no. I am not even getting into Microsoft's invested interests.

@ rodney_ws, when did the government almost shut down Microsoft? And for what alleged reason, antitrust act? I haven't heard of the government shutting down a company due to the anti trust act. Usually bankruptcy beats the government to shutting down a company. The only one I can think of was Rockefeller's Standard Oil company breakdown. Even then it wasn't a shut down just a severing of ties to basically all of it's 70 companies.


Ever heard of Carnivore?

The government didn't try "shut down" Microsoft, but they did want to break it up into smaller companies. Part of the reason Windows 7 didn't ship with an built-in email client is because of the anti-trust settlement with the US government. The EU's decision against MS borders on ridiculous... but they are forced to comply. Despite what some people would have you believe... there is nothing stopping you from using third-party email clients, media players and web browsers with Windows. Just because they are (or were) included, doesn't mean you are only allowed to use those.
m
0
l
a b 8 Security
a c 395 $ Windows 7
November 21, 2009 1:32:44 AM

rodney has it right!
m
0
l
November 21, 2009 6:42:44 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Not saying it is or it isn't but illegal investigative techniques are used every day. "Legal" didn't matter either for anyone at Guantanamo Bay. If I suspect you of being a drug dealer and I tap your phone, that's illegal and anything I hear can't be used in court. But if I hear you set up a buy and I "just happened" to be staking out the location "on a hunch" the illegal wiretap never needs to get introduced in court.


Did you read my post, I never said Microsoft was shut down I was merely asking for documentation on what Rodney posted.

The reason email client's (Windows Mail (not Live)) was no longer supported or updated or bundled with operating systems was because of three reason:
1) It was not for Windows Xp, or any other operating system besides Vista.
2) Many emails (including hotmail) redesigned their email network/servers to new form of HTTP servers allowing for POP3, HTTPS, among other features; thus making Windows Mail client unusable hence the errors you receive when you try to log on to Windows Mail.
3) No reason to update Windows Mail client, whenever Windows Live software was being announced in 2005 and developed through 2006.


Lastly, Microsoft won the Antitrust suit for email client and other software. So that is not a reason why they choose to remove mail clients.
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/337579...

Guantanamo bay was not illegal in any way or form, the legal jurisdiction lays in the host country NOT citizenship of criminals. The reason why we choose Cuba is just that, no legal repercussions.

Guantanamo bay was in Cuba, a country we share very few relations with since the United States Embargo against Cuba in 1960, then finalized by Cuba's expropriation of American citizen/corporation's private property this in turn caused a near total embargo.. This is also irrelevant since Obama ordered the suspension and programmed shut down of all 3 camps in Guantanamo bay

@argument over illegal evidence. Actually it is incongruent with reality. I will list why:
"If I suspect you of being a drug dealer and I tap your phone, that's illegal and anything I hear can't be used in court. But if I hear you set up a buy and I "just happened" to be staking out the location "on a hunch" the illegal wiretap never needs to get introduced in court."

The first bit is correct illegal wire tap would negate any evidence collected via that extraction method.
The second bit is incorrect, because for you to arrest someone on those grounds you would need an arrest warrant to have a team setup, thus bringing you to court to mention the reason of such suspicion in which case no viable credible witness=cop fails since no court will warranty thousands of dollars for a hunch. Also if a cop is going to bust a drug deal alone, they must have balls of steel or a suicidal tendency this isn't Die Hard. Let's say a cop is that crazy this is what would happen:

When the individual is arrested, his house/properties will be seized, confiscated and filed in an inventory. The phone will no doubt reveal a wiretap, which upon release of this information to the defendant's lawyer would file in a "illegal search method" claim; thus making it very difficult for the prosecutor to build a fair case. I bet the whole evidence found would be thrown out after some media publicity specially since corrupt or abusive cop's seems to be favorites for the media.

Either way you want to look at it, such an event would require too much many ideal events for it work flawlessly that it would be called the perfect crime (weird I know but I didn't write the laws).
m
0
l
November 21, 2009 12:54:31 PM

Microsoft was nearly split into 3 different companies because of some nasty antitrust issues... and you better believe the government had the upper hand in those talks. I just don't know of many/any instances where governments (in general) do not abuse the power we so freely grant them. Carnivore, Magic Lantern, Echelon... it's obvious our government wants to know more about what its citizens are doing... do you REALLY think it will draw a line in the sand and not cross it? Really? We tortured enemy combatants for information... and you think our government won't bend a few rules and twist a few arms for information?

I don't go around wearing a tinfoil hat... I don't think government agents are going to whisk me away in some unmarked van... I just happen to not trust any government.
m
0
l
November 21, 2009 12:59:02 PM

Of everything I said... I think "Magic Lantern" was the most important.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_%28software%...

So right there they're saying our government will exploit "known vulnerabilities" in the software we use in order to gain access. So what happens when some hacker/cracker discovers the vulnerability, writes an exploit and Microsoft patches it? Does the NSA have to sit around waiting for the next opening? Do they go looking for it? Or... do they just turn to page 2 in their play book and just use their next documented vulnerability? IT IS POSSIBLE. I'm not saying that's what is happening... I just accept it as a possibility.
m
0
l
November 21, 2009 4:43:50 PM

rodney_ws said:
Of everything I said... I think "Magic Lantern" was the most important.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_%28software%...

So right there they're saying our government will exploit "known vulnerabilities" in the software we use in order to gain access. So what happens when some hacker/cracker discovers the vulnerability, writes an exploit and Microsoft patches it? Does the NSA have to sit around waiting for the next opening? Do they go looking for it? Or... do they just turn to page 2 in their play book and just use their next documented vulnerability? IT IS POSSIBLE. I'm not saying that's what is happening... I just accept it as a possibility.


Once again can you source any documentation on Microsoft being split apart?

Magic Lantern was a program to keylog computers to gain access to them in the event that your criminally tried, aka hack your computer to find evidence you may be hiding while being tried NOT to collect evidence before an arrest ...

"Spokesmen for the FBI soon confirmed the existence of a program called Magic Lantern. They denied that it had been deployed, and they declined to comment further.[5]"
m
0
l
a b 8 Security
a c 395 $ Windows 7
November 21, 2009 8:04:51 PM

like the saying goes ,you are not alone!
m
0
l
November 23, 2009 4:45:52 PM

To AsAnAtheist...

http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5025...

I assumed this story was common knowledge. People in our government had taken the initial steps of breaking up Microsoft. Several ideas were tossed around... this one from the JD recommending MS be split into 2 companies although I had heard others suggest it be split 3 ways.
m
0
l
November 23, 2009 8:17:24 PM

In the uk and i think this law applies in america too. There was a law introduced with regards to terrorism.

Basically if you are suspected of terrorism the authority can spy, break in to your house and do pretty much anything they want to. Critics argue that this law is just an excuse that basically breaks all our rights.

ie

the law is being abused a hell of a lot even to the extent that local councils are using it to spy on vandals. Although recently they have been told off for doing so.

My point is if such a law exists whats stopping the authorities of say.......... hacking in to a persons computer by methods of an intentional flaw in the os...

It might be a bit conspiracy theorish but it would be naive to trust our goverment or any person/organisation in a position of power completely.
m
0
l
November 24, 2009 12:31:27 PM

Agreed. If they're willing to do a "sneak-and-peak" break-in on a personal residence, they won't hesitate to gain access to your PC by any means necessary.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 24, 2009 12:45:03 PM

IIRC there was a story a couple of years ago about a guy who had been convicted of hacking or spamming or some such and part of his sentence was the banning from using any computers which he appealed against successfully arguing that such a ban affected his ability to earn a living, so the sentence was revised and he was banned from running any other OS except an MS one and his Linux machines were strictly off limits.
m
0
l
November 24, 2009 5:02:48 PM

Well, mousemonkey... that's just damned interesting. I'm no programmer and there could be a million lines of code in Ubuntu (or whatever your distro of choice is) that gives the gov't access to everything on your system.... and well, I wouldn't know it. BUT... because Linux is open source I assume that thousands of people have looked over the code for anything suspicious and have done their best to insure a secure operating system. With Windows? You just don't know what's there.
m
0
l
November 24, 2009 5:19:41 PM

Every time I read about some foreign government pushing open source software I find myself thinking back on this topic. Do THEY feel that Windows is a risk to their privacy?

In full disclosure... I use Windows on a daily basis at work and home. For me it's reliable and does everything I want it to do.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 24, 2009 5:23:33 PM

rodney_ws said:
Well, mousemonkey... that's just damned interesting. I'm no programmer and there could be a million lines of code in Ubuntu (or whatever your distro of choice is) that gives the gov't access to everything on your system.... and well, I wouldn't know it. BUT... because Linux is open source I assume that thousands of people have looked over the code for anything suspicious and have done their best to insure a secure operating system. With Windows? You just don't know what's there.

I for one have never ceased to be amused by just how easy windows is to pirate and use, what better way of ensuring that the majority of PC's on the planet can be monitored.
m
0
l
November 24, 2009 9:40:15 PM

rodney_ws said:
To AsAnAtheist...

http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5025...

I assumed this story was common knowledge. People in our government had taken the initial steps of breaking up Microsoft. Several ideas were tossed around... this one from the JD recommending MS be split into 2 companies although I had heard others suggest it be split 3 ways.



It isn't common knowledge because it was just a plan. The plan was found too vague in 2000, and in 2004 thrown out.
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/337579...

This is the exact same article I gave you on the previous post. Please do some research before you do anything like posting an article from 2000.


Sigh... Window's operating system "source code" is Window's operating system.
Source code is basically the programming needed to go from User--> Software--> Hardware.... This is done through a compiler (example: C++), or sometimes by a interpreter (custom programming done by the developer to go from user--> software --> hardware).

I can assure you Window's has been decompiled/compiled/and modified already.. This is specially easy since Window's keeps so many logs of all programs ran that you can track down even the most minute of system changes..
m
0
l
November 25, 2009 3:56:32 PM

Common knowledge simply means that most people remember hearing about it on the news or reading about it in a newspaper. I'd say that story qualifies by that definition.

I can't really explain AsAnAtheist's hostility towards everything I say. I read the date on the article... I'm clear that it's not a current one. I was merely pointing to that event as a possible time when Microsoft might have hopped in bed with Big Brother. Basically what you're saying is that if it's not something that is happening right now, it never happened. Well, that's just silly. Various people in the Justice Department wanted (past tense) Bill Gates head on a platter.
m
0
l
November 25, 2009 9:21:25 PM

rodney_ws said:
Common knowledge simply means that most people remember hearing about it on the news or reading about it in a newspaper. I'd say that story qualifies by that definition.

I can't really explain AsAnAtheist's hostility towards everything I say. I read the date on the article... I'm clear that it's not a current one. I was merely pointing to that event as a possible time when Microsoft might have hopped in bed with Big Brother. Basically what you're saying is that if it's not something that is happening right now, it never happened. Well, that's just silly. Various people in the Justice Department wanted (past tense) Bill Gates head on a platter.


I am not showing hostility just asking from proof. Whenever you make statements like those your misleading people who may see this post.
So please.
1) Show proof.
2) Know what your talking about.
3) At least show a logical step by step of why Microsoft would benefit from said NSA backdoor.

I am very open minded, so if you can present some solid proof we can go from there.

I am not saying anything happening now is what matters, and the past doesnt. What I am saying is your article was very outdated with several updates leading up to 2004 with the acceptance of the appeal to the anti trust case.
What I am saying is give me the most current event having to do with your topic. For example if I say the newest GPU by ATI was a HD 4650, that would be right /wrong. Right because it was once the newest GPU way back when, and wrong because current events changed the newest GPU.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 26, 2009 1:58:03 AM

If there were some secret NSA backdoor, it definately wouldn't be made common knowledge. When you think about it, however... the NSA doesn't really need a back door into you computer... they can just use your ISP to see what you're up to.
m
0
l
November 26, 2009 12:59:45 PM

I'm just not aware of what I said that was so misleading. We're talking hypothetical here... I can't prove what I believe is true... you can't prove it's not. We're just talking ideas here. At no point did I say "MICROSOFT GIVES OUR GOVERNMENT A BACKDOOR INTO YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM." I just believe the possibility exists.

And to Zoron... having a back door into your OS would be MUCH more beneficial than simply being able to observe your online activities.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
November 26, 2009 1:22:06 PM

Just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching you.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2009 2:09:26 AM

das_stig said:
Q. Does the NSA really have influence over Microsoft?

A. Yes, just like we have influence on TH, in stopping them posting US stories on the UK site.


Well stig, pardon me for being presumptuous, but isn't the UK government more willing to monitor its citizens? The whole point of my question was how agencies from any government can possibly exert control over a company that produces software lots of people use.
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2009 7:31:59 PM

Having backdoors into your system is useful if you want to "take over" the system. If all they want to do is observe and log your activities, then they clearly wouldn't need that back door. I'm not denying the possibility exists, but then I'm not going to lose any sleep over it either.
m
0
l
July 18, 2013 6:26:47 AM

From personal experience, NSA actively monitors when I am alone or people are a certain distance from me, then my brother, the agent, can then control what comes out of the electronics. I believe the spy drones are sending "on" signals for agent override when the victim is alone, and "off" when others come within a certain range of the victim. I have lived this and seen it first hand. There is truth in my words. NSA is gangstalking me and my 10 year old son
m
0
l
July 18, 2013 8:03:22 AM

I am not showing hostility just asking from proof. Whenever you make statements like those your misleading people who may see this post.
So please.
1) Show proof.
2) Know what your talking about.
3) At least show a logical step by step of why Microsoft would benefit from said NSA backdoor.

I am very open minded, so if you can present some solid proof we can go from there.

I am not saying anything happening now is what matters, and the past doesnt. What I am saying is your article was very outdated with several updates leading up to 2004 with the acceptance of the appeal to the anti trust case.
What I am saying is give me the most current event having to do with your topic. For example if I say the newest GPU by ATI was a HD 4650, that would be right /wrong. Right because it was once the newest GPU way back when, and wrong because current events changed the newest GPU.[/quotemsg]
I would respectfully like to know how I can prove my dilemma. On occasion and with sound mind and body, whenever I'm alone the electronic devices around me( iPod, car radio, CD player) can play what they want. For instance, my brother can override my cd and straight tell me whatever he wants. The drones are making sure nobody is in distance when it happens in automated fashion. How can I prove this ? I have recordings, but they need to be analyzed. More importantly, electronic devices need to be cracked to show the public that its true. How can we prove that the hidden chips or software give NSA agents override authority? And how can I prove that the drones are signaling these devices to be active when the victim is isolated? Yea, I'm for real and they are killing me already, they don't like thee secrets to be revealed
m
0
l
!