Russian government has asked SAP and Apple to let the government access source code of their software for examining them. USA and some European companies are strongly against Russia because of its role in Ukraine. Hence, Russian government suspects if these companies are using products for spying on Russian government entities.
United States of America introduced new round of sanctions targeting three major banks in Russia. VTB, which is second biggest bank of Russia is also among these three banks. On Tuesday, European Union published an agreement in its broad economic sanctions which marks significant changes in confrontation between western countries and Russia since cold war.
The communication minister of Russian, Nikolai Nikiforov met with Apple’s GM of Russia, Peter Engrob Nielsen and SAP’s Russian MD, Vyacheslav Orekhov last week, after which, the proposal was sent out.
The proposal by Russian government is designed to protect consumer’s rights and privacy. If Russian government loses control over the source code, it could lead to major threat to these two major tech companies.
Nikiforov said, “US Intelligence Service’s public statements and Edward Snowden’s revelation in 2013 have raised question of softwares and hardwares of foreign companies. If companies have nothing to hide then they will disclose the source code to the Russian government. If they don’t then it means they are not willing to cooperate with Russian government because their software has some undeclared capabilities that breaches privacy concerns.”
Former US NSA contractor recently revealed NSA forces these major tech product companies to keep security backdoor in the software to access private data of users. US government has changed the law enforcement for software encryption to create backdoor so that NSA can spy on users.
Most government around the world are changing technology practices on account of NSA revelations. Russian is not the only nation to change software regulatory policies.
It is worth mentioning here that a program’s source code is the set of computer instructions that controls functionality of software programs. Source code is the most critical part of software for any software maker. Major tech companies guard this source code very preciously. It’s a crown jewel of any software.
Microsoft has been sharing the source code of Windows OS and other Microsoft products for over ten years now. They share the source code with Atlas which reports to communiqué ministry in Russia.
However, Apple and SAP refused to comment anything on this issue. Government thinks that the reason behind not sharing source codes with government remains uncertain and suspicious.
There are two types of software technology used by major tech companies. One is proprietary software and other is open source. Tech companies producing proprietary software strictly copyright the source code to prevent competitors from copying features used in their software product. While open source software allows developers to access source code to encourage them to make modifications and improvements.
Open source software makers have a revenue model based on services that they provide while the software product is sold for free. Most major tech companies resist usage of open source softwares.
Apple is very strict on guarding proprietary software and source codes of it. Apple is the most expensive company in the world with large amount of market share. While German company, SAP is the fourth largest tech company which makes business software. The business planning software offered by SAP is used by top companies to maintain financial records. SAP is also strict about protecting source code of their products.