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MS Cites National Security to Justify Closed Source 827

Posted by timothy
from the so-bad-we-can't-display-it dept.
guacamolefoo writes: "It was recently reported in eWeek that "A senior Microsoft Corp. executive told a federal court last week that sharing information with competitors could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. He later acknowledged that some Microsoft code was so flawed it could not be safely disclosed." (Emphasis added.) The follow up from Microsoft is even better: As a result of the flaws, Microsoft has asked the court to allow a "national security" carve-out from the requirement that any code or API's be made public. Microsoft has therefore taken the position that their code is so bad that it must kept secret to keep people from being killed by it. Windows - the Pinto of the 21st century."
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MS Cites National Security to Justify Closed Source

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  • War (Score:5, Funny)

    by qslack (239825) <qslack&pobox,com> on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:36PM (#3553886) Homepage Journal
    War is always the best excuse. One of my favorite cartoons on this is Mark Fiore's, at http://markfiore.com/animation/excuse.html [markfiore.com]. :)
  • by sllort (442574) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:37PM (#3553895) Homepage Journal
    By closing the source we can prevent Open Source Communism.

    More proof that Bill Gates is just a more successful troll than me.

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:37PM (#3553902) Homepage Journal
    "Uhh, the judge is acting pissed. Did you see the way she looked at us when she said 'Obey the court'?"

    "Yeah, how can we BS her on this?"

    "Uhh, maybe we can find a link to terrorism?"

    "YEA! That's it! We can't comply, because of National Security"

    Harmph....
  • by cansas (530086) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:39PM (#3553919) Homepage
    The Pinto was never as dangerous as M$ products.
  • "Microsoft has invested substantial time and resources in providing great interoperability between .Net and older technologies," Allchin said.

    You forgot to translate this:
    We made sure .NET will crash as frequently as older Windows technologies, and contain a similar number of bugs per 1000 lines of code (allowing for a small deviation between blocks of code)


    RagManX
  • by selderrr (523988) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:42PM (#3553940) Journal
    um... how does this reasoning relate to bugs in MS Flight simulator... With amateur pilots training themselves to fly AROUND buildings, this whole software-based learning is jeopardised.

    Hey, now that I think of it, perhaps this wasn't a terrorist attack after all ?
  • by CoolVibe (11466) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:43PM (#3553948) Journal
    Just count your lucky stars that Microsoft software isn't guiding ICBMs to their target...

    Well, at least I hope it doesn't. A comment like this from a Microsoft bigwig doesn't sound encouraging... Mid-air GPF anyone? *ouch*

  • by pjt48108 (321212) <pjt48108NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:48PM (#3554005) Homepage
    The problem here is that M$ is proprietary, and won't release their code. Therefore, government agencies cannot verify such claims of bad code. Also, one must agree not to disclose bugs in M$ software or face prosecution. In the end, the governmetn shuld do what the gov't of Chile has done, and require the use of free (...of proprietary code, etc.) software in all gov't operations.

    But, I agree... I'd love to see the gov't return MS stuff and REQUIRE working code. Watch M$ reply with a RedHat CD.
  • Rebuttle (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:48PM (#3554007)
    What if Terrorist Destroy Microsoft, (e.g. Crash a 747 into Microsoft, or develop worm to destroy Microsoft source code)? What will happen then?
    For reasons of National of Security, all of Microsoft code should be made open source! At the very mininum Microsoft should hand over all of it to the NSA or some other agency of the US government to ensure that the code is available in after an attack against Microsoft.

  • by eyegor (148503) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:52PM (#3554058)
    Washington
    (NAPI)- John Ashcruft today warned that al-Qaida terrorists have infiltrated several "Learning Tree" facilities over the past few months and have obtained illicit "MCSE" certificates. "With the imtimate knowledge they now have, no one who runs the Windows Operating System is safe" quavered Professor M. Druel of the University of North Dakota at Hoople. "Given the flaws we were warned of, why didn't we listen to that guy back during the trail?" Linux users (and other users of the soon-to-be banned "open-source" software) spent the days chuckling.
  • Yes, but they've signed Non Disclosure Agreements, so it's OK.

  • by cybermage (112274) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:57PM (#3554098) Homepage Journal
    Worrying isn't it?

    I figure if Microsoft code was handling anything important, we'd be dead already. The concept adds a whole new meaning to BSOD.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:57PM (#3554099) Journal
    ...sharing information with competitors could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan...
    They forgot to mention it would:
    1. reverse gravity
    2. send the tightly-controlled, stable market into a state of chaos
    3. put thousands of people out of work (how could MS pay its employees if they gave their products away?)
    4. bring back Elvis (in the form of MP3s distributed by the masses who were previously restricted by MS DRM)
    5. cause the judge's personal computer to automatically download pornography every day
    Didn't we see this in Ghostbusters?
    "He wants to shut down the protection grid, Peter."

    "You shut that thing down and we are not going to be held responsible."
  • 30 Billion in short term investments and ready cash = cash strapped???!

    Hope this helps: irony [dictionary.com]
  • Re: Nice (Score:3, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:05PM (#3554167)


    > When in doubt, raise concerns about terrorism, or inappropriately use 9/11 as a crutch. The new coin of Washington (both east and west it seems).

    It's not just the USA. Want to wage war on a neighbor or on members of your own population? Just go ahead, and call it "War on Terrorism (tm)" if anyone expresses outrage over it.

  • by MongooseCN (139203) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:07PM (#3554186) Homepage
    After supporting MS's statements that all source should be closed and hidden in order to maintain national security, the US government has agreed to hide all tall buildings. All tall buildings will now be covered with large black clothes. In order to maintain national security, anyone caught talking about these buildings will be arresting. Since terrorists will be unable to clearly see and hear about these buildings, they will no longer be able to attack them. Thank you and good night.
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:08PM (#3554192) Homepage Journal
    "Sun's strategy of promoting '100 percent pure' Java applications discourages interoperability."
    That's right; if you write a program that runs on all computers out there, you'll have problems with all those computers being able to communicate with each other.
  • by Flower (31351) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:09PM (#3554209) Homepage
    They need to make a movie with Samuel L. Jackson as a Microsoft programmer just so I can hear the line.
    Send me that service pack. It's the one named, 'Dumbass Motherfucker.'

    They can name it something like 'Patch Lola Patch.'
  • by whovian (107062) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:15PM (#3554242)
    Microsoft's view:
    If the software has security flaws, then the code and APIs cannot be made public.

    Open source view:
    If the code and APIs are made public, then the software does not have security flaws.

    So, Microsoft, we are finally in agreement, yes?
  • by WEFUNK (471506) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:18PM (#3554269) Homepage
    "Microsoft has invested substantial time and resources in providing great interoperability between .Net and older technologies," Allchin said. "Sun's strategy of promoting '100 percent pure' Java applications discourages interoperability."

    So, according to Microsoft, it is better to have one company provide (ie control) the degree of interoperability between systems than to have another company promote a single standard for the whole industry to use and share.

    I can't imagine that line of thinking going over very well with military officials used to building redundancy into everything.

    You might also paraphase the above statements as follows:

    "Microsoft has choosen to ignore freely available and already established standards and instead has wasted substantial time and resources needlessly reinventing the wheel by developing our own internal standards (that we won't share and that we admit are not really very good) so that we can control the degree of interoperability between our proprietary new product, and our former (and soon to be former) competitor's technologies"

    "Sun's strategy of creating and sharing a standard that encourages 100% interoperability between all systems discourages interoperability (but only in respect to our systems, because ours are made to be incompatible with the accepted standard that everyone else uses)."

    Oh boy, can I please buy your systems for my Army?
  • Security (Score:4, Funny)

    by surfcow (169572) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:20PM (#3554282) Homepage
    Your Honor, we at Microsoft believe that if we ever revealed the source code for MS Windows, more children would immediately start taking drugs. Husbands would start to beat their wives. Small animals would become uncontrollable, staining many expensive carpets. Certain food-groups would become more perishable. 2nd law of thermodynamics would be repealled. Finally, a giant hole would open up in space time, causing the end of the universe.

    Your honor, it is a matter or national security, no international security, no galactic security, that we be allowed to continue our profitable monopoly.

    Think she'll buy it?

    =brian
  • Re:er, (Score:3, Funny)

    by HiredMan (5546) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:28PM (#3554341) Journal
    From the story:
    The protocol, which is part of Message Queuing, contains a coding mistake that would threaten the security of enterprise systems using it if it were disclosed, Allchin said.


    "That's business with .Net."


    =tkk

  • This is a particularly absurd claim for application programmer interfaces (APIs) - by definition, APIs are disclosed to other developers, so the only reason to "hide" them is to prevent competition.

    Well, they may have a point though. Thier "hidden" APIs can be a big security risk, such as:

    BecomeRootUserWithoutNeedingPassword()
    Secretly TakeOverMachineinInvisibleMode()
    DecryptAllFilesA ndSendPlaintextViaWirelessCard()

    and, of course the one Outlook and Word uses:

    MakeProgramsRun90PercentFasterButTurnOffAllSecur it yAndGenerateVirusesWithGeneticAlgorithm()

  • NSAKey (Score:2, Funny)

    by yancey (136972) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:42PM (#3554457)

    If we had the source code, we might find out the true function of the NSAKey function!
  • by pergamon (4359) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:52PM (#3554538) Homepage
    Unsafe in any configuration
  • by WillSeattle (239206) on Monday May 20, 2002 @05:55PM (#3554552) Homepage
    There was a reason why there were pictures of Seattle on those captured PCs that al-Qaeda were using.

    It wasn't that they were trying to make bioweapons to use on us.

    No, they got H1B visas and are coding in Redmond as we speak!

    -

  • Actually, there is no one called Allchin at Microsoft. Allchin is a descriptive term for All Chin, Jabba the Hutt.

    Even though he also works for George Lucas, All Chin has a long history of eating cute, squeaky animals for Microsoft, too. For example, in the December 12, 1994 edition of Computer Reseller News, page 269, column 1, fourth paragraph, he said that a software emulation patch for the Pentium floating point processor bug would not affect performance greatly. This was true, as long as customers didn't use it. If the program they were running used that part of the floating point processor, however, the processing would be far slower.

    Now he's telling us that war is a good reason for us to let Microsoft do what it wants to do anyway. To Microsoft, we are all cute, squeaky animals.
  • by uofa1993engrmath (564313) on Monday May 20, 2002 @06:16PM (#3554711)
    One is sort of chunky and ugly, and she won't let you see her naked, and you pretty much know already that you wouldn't really enjoy it if she did. The other has a slim, beautiful body, and when she takes off her clothes and parades it around, all the men ooh and ahh over it. That's the analogy I like to use. Maybe it isn't 100% correct, but that's the impression I get when you've got MS saying "No, no, you don't want to see our source code!" and meanwhile, you've got these open source softwares that are taking it all off, and saying "hey, baby, look at THESE!" Microsoft is NOT sexy. Linux, apache, and all of those wonderful open source projects ARE. But this is just how I see it. I mean, if I was to go on a date with a woman, and she proudly told me that she has an MCSA certification, I'd probably politely nod, but secretly be planning on my escape (maybe run away after telling her I had to use the restroom). On the other hand, if she told me that she had her own php [php.net] based website, and that her text editor of choice was vim [vim.org], then I'd be all weak-kneed and googly-eyed, and I'd want her to have my children. But again, that's just me. I don't know how it is for other people. I mean, I may not really UNDERSTAND beautiful women, but I sure like to look at them. So, I don't think there's any action required, as in "let's get rid of Microsoft." I think that it's really just a matter of educating the masses that there's an alternative, and it looks good naked. Or as you might say, it's a lot safer because the code can be (and is) made public without compromising national security.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Monday May 20, 2002 @06:26PM (#3554780) Homepage
    [Head shots of teenagers against a black background, speaking directly to the camera; somber lighting; penitent tone]

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped murder families in Colombia.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I just wanted to play Minesweeper.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped kidnap people's dads.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I just wanted to listen to music with Windows Media Player.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped kids learn how to kill.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I was just browsing with IE6, you know.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped kill a policeman.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I was just having fun.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped a bomber get a fake passport.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Other kids do it.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped kill a judge.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I helped blow up buildings.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: My computer, my OS.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It's not like I was hurting anybody else.

  • GPL (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2002 @06:27PM (#3554783)
    void InsertLinuxSecurityHole()
    {
    ...
    }
    I'd love to share my Linux kernel patch to comply with the GPL, but it is such a security risk, I don't think it would be safe to do so.
  • by Omerna (241397) <clbrewer@gmail.com> on Monday May 20, 2002 @06:32PM (#3554818) Homepage
    "In response to the mass laughter we've been hearing upon admitting this, we'd just like to point out that if you were to release the source to say, Linux, it would have serious security problems too."

    Oh wait...
  • To Microsoft, we are all cute, squeaky animals.

    Except for those of us carrying nova bombs. Eeeyaaah! GPL'ed code! We're doomed!

    Jabba is also shown eating ugly, gronchy-sounding froggish thingies, but I don't think that invalidates your thesis. (-:
  • by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Monday May 20, 2002 @07:26PM (#3555122)
    ... and I need a couple of clones of Britney Spears to keep around the house. If I don't get them, the war effort in Afghanistan may be endangered.
  • by n76lima (455808) on Monday May 20, 2002 @08:13PM (#3555318)
    If the M$ Code is so dangerous, maybe we can get Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.
    to require warning labels on every box!

    "Warning: This product may exhibit serious security flaws and compromise National Security and cause death of US Soldiers fiting terrorism in foreign countries."

  • by blakestah (91866) <blakestah@gmail.com> on Monday May 20, 2002 @09:15PM (#3555614) Homepage
    \

    Jules: Send me that service pack. It's the one named, 'Dumbass Motherfucker.'

    Vincent: You know what the funniest thing about Microsoft is?

    Jules: What ?

    Vincent: Its the little differences. Its got a lotta the same shit as other operating systems, but with those guys it is a little different.

    Jules: How so ?

    Vincent: For example. Another company has a bug. They fix it in like two days, and then they annouce the bug and the fix.

    Jules: Ok. And at Microsoft ?

    Vincent: At Microsoft, when someone points out a security hole, the first thing they do is threaten a lawsuit against the guy who found the hole if he says anything.

    Jules: You mean they threaten the guy who is helping them ?

    Vincent: Yup - exactly what I mean. As long as there is not a big media splash, they never gotta fix nuthin.

    Jules: So what happens if the guy opens his mouth.

    Vincent: Generally he don't. But, some 15 year old kid in Asia finds the same bug, and then releases a worm, and it chews apart all the Microsoft systems worldwide in like two days.

    Jules: No shit !

    Vincent: Yeah, and then Microsoft tells everyone about the bug, and provides a patch, but no one fixes it.

    Jules: No one !?

    Vincent: Well, smart people do, but most people just miss the message. They gotta go to Microsoft, get the patch, and half the time the fix will break something else on their system.

    Jules: So if this shit is so bad, why are so many people using it ?

    Vincent: It used to be everything on personal computers were that bad. Then, Microsoft controlled the market. Everyone else started making good shit, but it didn't matter. Microsoft made people buy their new shit so they could continue to read their own old shit. Can you believe it ?

    Jules: Man, that is some weird-ass shit. Like some idiot can't take a step back and see himself being played like that.

    Vincent: Yeah, it's kinda sad. But it makes a great market for guys to run around spending all their time patching holes after they are exploited. If Microsoft made good shit, we wouldn't have jobs.

    Jules: Good point.

  • by EnderWiggnz (39214) on Monday May 20, 2002 @10:17PM (#3555866)
    >The basic fact of religion is that God has
    >stated many times that He doesn't want to be
    >easily found--hence, no fact should be hard to
    >accept for anyone of a religious mind.

    prove that "god" "said" this.

    i'll accept *.wav's or *.mp3's or *.ogg's ... 1st person evidence please.
  • by cookd (72933) <.douglascook. .at. .juno.com.> on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @03:11AM (#3556748) Journal
    Wow, that one is easy to handle (there are some harder ones out there -- I know, I've seen them!).

    Moses sluffed his Algebra and Zoology classes. So what? It is more than obvious that Moses screwed up from time to time. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

    God: ... And the people are not to eat the flesh of unclean animals.

    Moses: No unclean animals. Got that. So what is the definition of an unclean animal?

    God: Those that chew the cud and have cloven hooves.

    Moses Chew cud, cloven hooves. Ok, continue.

    God: Now, they must dress...

    Later that day...

    Moses: And you shall eat only clean animals, which are animals that chew the cud and have cloven hooves.

    Belligerent kid at the back of the crowd: Is this going to be on the final?

    Moses: Yes.

    Kid in the third row: Can you give us some examples?

    Moses: Cows, goats, oxen.

    Geeky kid: How about the bunny?

    Moses: No, the hare doesn't count. It doesn't have cloven hooves, see. Gotta have both.

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