Microsoft: No Backdoor In Vista, Ever

Microsoft late last week began to publicly deny reports that it was building a backdoor into Windows Vista in order for governments to gain access to private files. Calling it "simply not acceptable," Microsoft System Integrity Team developer and cryptographer Niels Ferguson said the official line is that the company does not, and would not, create backdoors.

Reports of such an issue within the next generation Windows release surfaced in mid-February following a report by BBC News. The story claimed the British government feared that new encryption technologies, specifically BitLocker in Vista, could set back terrorism investigations.

The report claimed that British authorities were talking with Microsoft about the issue, however it did not specify what the two parties were discussing.

While Ferguson did not deny talking with the British government, he did say that law enforcement officials were inquiring about the BitLocker technology. "They foresee that they will want to read BitLocker-encrypted data, and they want to be prepared," he said.

However, Microsoft would never install a backdoor in order to make this possible, Ferguson said. "Over my dead body," he wrote. Ferguson added that nobody in the team would be willing to either implement or test such a feature.

Microsoft says BitLocker is intended to preserve system security and "ensures that data stored on a computer running Windows Vista is not revealed if the machine is tampered with when the installed operating system is offline."

The technology will additionally prevent malicious software from being installed on computers without the user's consent.

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