Russian Govt Demands Apple’s Software Secrets




The Russian government wants access to Apple’s source codes to make sure its products do not contain tools to spy on state institutions.

The Russian proposal was made during a meeting between communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov and Apple’s general manager in Russia, Peter Engrob Nielsen.

Russia says the move is designed to ensure the rights of consumers as corporate users, as well as for state security interests.

But Apple is likely to resist handing over some of its most sensitive business secrets.

A source code is a written series of programming instructions which powers software.

Some non-profit or charitable technology organisations make their source codes public to allow developers to adapt and improve it.

However most private companies keep their source codes confidential.

In a statement Mr Nikiforov said: “Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services’ public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware.

“Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programmes are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products.”

There was also a veiled threat to companies who failed to comply, saying it “remains uncertain” whether state companies will still be able to use software from firms who do not comply.

Apple is the world’s most valuable company by market capitalisation.

Mr Nikiforov also asked for the source codes used by SAP, the world’s fourth-largest business software maker and Germany’s biggest tech company.


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