Microsoft: No Backdoors in Vista

Responding to a UK government request, Microsoft says that it will not be adding any kind of backdoor into Windows Vista, which might allow law enforcement officials bypass the system's encryption-based controls. The UK had been asking for a backdoor so that it could access information stored on Vista-formatted hard drives owned by criminals.

"Microsoft has not and will not put 'backdoors' into Windows," a Microsoft representative said. Niels Ferguson, a cryptography expert at Microsoft took the argument a bit further late last week in a blog posting. "The suggestion is that we are working with governments to create a back door so that they can always access BitLocker-encrypted data," he wrote. "Over my dead body."

BitLocker is a new feature in Windows Vista that allows the user to encrypt an entire hard drive. Previously known as Full Drive Encryption, BitLocker will protect data on a disk from being read if the PC is stolen or lost.

"Law enforcement organizations ... foresee that they will want to read BitLocker-encrypted data, and they want to be prepared," Ferguson added. "Back doors are simply not acceptable. Besides, they wouldn't find anybody on this team willing to implement and test the back door."

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