Germany’s government seems to have something against Microsoft – or maybe they’re just seeing the company’s intentions for what they really are. Germany was seriously considering banning the Xbox One for being a “next-gen monitoring device” and now it looks like Germany believes Windows 8 is doing the same thing.
German officials have reportedly become uneasy about an element of Windows 8 called the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). TPM has been built into most Windows 8 PCs and tablets and is designed to act as a “gigantic back door for NSA surveillance.”
That information comes from internal documents sent by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs. Those documents were obtained by German publication Zeit Online and suggest that German officials are uneasy about Microsoft’s newest operating system.
Microsoft hasn’t been secretive about TPM and it has been used by the company since 2006. Version 1.0 of TPM was designed to be a type of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that would prevent software from being shared illegally – that’s okay.
But it’s Version 2 of the TPM software that has people worried. Version 2.0 of TPM would embed a chip on every single PC. This chip would be able to control which programs can run and which programs cannot run. To make things even scarier, nothing on Windows 8 could override this setting. The chip would also store cryptographic data and enable remote admin access. TPM 2.0 will form the foundation of Windows 8’s security going forward.
Germany worries about NSA spying on industry and businesses
German industry is renowned around the world. As such, Germany invests millions into making sure its industrial security is second-to-none. The German Ministry of Economic Affairs became involved in this issue because it feels that using Windows 8 would compromise the security of the federal government and “operators of critical infrastructure” and represent a “loss of full sovereignty over information technology.”
Whoa. Germany is apparently worried about more than just the NSA: it also worries what would happen if Chinese spies were able to gain access to the technology. Keep in mind that many of the world’s largest spy agencies refuse to use Lenovo PCs because they believe they contain backdoor access points for Chinese spies. Seriously.
As if Windows 8 didn’t have enough problems as it is
Microsoft’s Windows 8 and its lineup of Windows 8 tablets have faced disappointing sales figures to say the least. However, with the recent NSA spying scandal and Microsoft’s apparent willingness to sell out its customers, it’s hard to support the company’s latest products.
Windows 8 undeniably has a backdoor that can be used by third parties for remove surveillance. If the Xbox One, built on a Windows 8 kernel, also has this backdoor, it means that NSA officials could look at you through your Kinect, listen to your conversations, and hey, maybe even send a toxic gas into your living room.
Yes, it sounds an awful lot like Winston Smith checking into his room’s TV monitor every morning to do his calisthenics. And it sounds like a lot of people won’t be buying the Xbox One or Windows 8.
Kudos to Germany’s Zeit Online for publishing information about this backdoor!