CWmike writes: The National Security Agency (NSA) worked with Microsoft on the development of Windows 7, an agency official acknowledged yesterday before Congress. Alarmed? Same story with Vista. Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronics Privacy Information Center (EPIC), says the NSA's involvement with OS development goes back even farther. "This battle goes back to at least the crypto wars of the early '90s," said Rotenberg, who remembered testifying about the agency's role in private sector computer security standards in 1989. But the NSA's hands on Windows raises a red flag for Rotenberg, who heads the public interest research center. "When NSA offers to help the private sector on computer security, the obvious concern is that it will also build in backdoors that enables tracking users and intercepting user communications," Rotenberg said. "And private sector firms are reluctant to oppose these 'suggestions' since the US government is also their biggest customer and opposition to the NSA could mean to loss of sales." But Andrew Storms, the director of security operations at nCircle Security, didn't put much credence in the idea that Microsoft would allow the NSA to build a hidden entrance to Windows 7. "Would it be surprising to most people that there was a backdoor? No, not with the political agenda of prior administrations," said Storms. "My gut, though, tells me that Microsoft, as a business, would not want to do that, at least not in a secretive way."
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