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Government Source Code Review Program Expanded to Office

Microsoft on Sunday expanded its controversial Government Security Program to allow governments that Microsoft trusts to review the source code of Microsoft Office.

Office 2003 joins Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows CE in the program. About 60 governments out of the world's 193 countries meet Microsoft's specifications for the program -- which primarily require that the country have laws and policies that would discourage that country's government from appropriating Microsoft's intellectual property.

Qualifying governments that sign a GSP agreement with Microsoft can review the source code for the product, its service packs and beta versions and set up visits to Microsoft's development center.

The British government is one of the first to participate in the newly widened program. "The release of this source code will help the U.K. government understand the security implications of the Office productivity suite and aid secure deployment in a wide range of scenarios," Steve Marsh, the director of the Central Sponsor for Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office, said in a statement.

Since introducing the Government Security Program in January 2003, Microsoft has gone from two signatories to about 30. They include Austria, Australia, China, Finland, Greece, NATO, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The program is aimed at national or international groups. Microsoft steers local, state and provincial governments toward other programs.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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