Russia has just suggested that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and SAP SE (ADR) (NYSE:SAP) give their government access to the source code of their software, Reuters reports. The move is being proposed by the Russian government as a step to ensure that these companies’ products are not being used for espionage.
The move also comes from Russia as it may be about to get hit by the most harsh sanctions by the United States and other European countries in connection to the MH17 tragedy.
With its ubiquitous gadgets, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be the perfect company to be used to spy on the governments of other countries. After all, civilian employees and even non-civilian employees in governments around the world use products such as those produced by these Silicon Valley titans while doing their respective jobs.
However, a company’s source code is considered as one of that company’s most closely guarded possessions. It is not easy to convince a company to share its source code even to a government of a territory they operate in.
According to Reuters, Nikolai Nikiforov, Russia’s Minister of Communications, aired the proposal to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and SAP SE (ADR) (NYSE:SAP) last week. Nikiforov is said to have met with Peter Engrob Nielsen, Apple general manager in Russia, and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP general manager in Russia, to discuss sharing the company’s source codes.
In the report, Nikiforov was quoted citing whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations that spying is intensifying against Russia as a reason for the need for companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to share their source codes with the Russian government.
“Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and U.S. intelligence services’ public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware,” he explained.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and SAP SE (ADR) (NYSE:SAP) are yet to release official comments about the proposal made by the Russian government.