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Big Blue lets Chinese government eyeball source code – report

Beijing officials get quick peek at IBM software in hunt for backdoor spying

IBM has reportedly granted Beijing controlled looking rights to its proprietary source code to allow government officials to scrutinise the software for spook backdoors.

The move comes some 12 years since Microsoft brought in its Government Security Program, to allow nations outside of the US to eyeball its code.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, IBM recently granted the Chinese government access to its code in a secure room.

The software giant told the newspaper that "strict procedures" were used at its tech demo centres in a number of countries to prevent its code being tampered with or copied.

Microsoft first opened up controlled government access to its Windows operating system source code back in 2003 to increase faith in the company's security.

And the timing of IBM's decision to share its source code with the People's Republic in this way isn't all that surprising: as noted by the WSJ, Big Blue announced this week that its cloud computing platform Bluemix would soon be available in China, after it struck a collaboration deal with 21Vianet Group – one of the country's data centre service providers.

What does China get from this partnership, you may ask? According to IBM the answer is developers, developers, developers. ®

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