You may have heard one company asking another company to hand over its source code over copyright infringements. Apple has demanded documents related to Android’s source code from Google over patent dispute in past. Samsung also asked Apple to provide them with iOS 6 source code last year. And this is probably the first time a country has demanded a foreign company for source code. Russia has requested Cupertino based tech giant Apple Inc. to cooperate against foreign government spying and hand over iOS and Mac source code. Russia has asked Apple to provide them iOS and Mac OS source code to esure their products are not infected with any backdoors used by government agencies for surveillance. It is also reported that Russia has made the similar request to Germany’s largest tech company based SAP too.
Reports suggests that the request for providing source code was made a week ago when Russian communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with Apple’s general manager Peter Engrob Nielsen and SAP’s Russian managing director, Vyacheslav Orekhov in Russia. The Russian communications ministry said in a statement that the proposal was designed to ensure the rights of consumers and corporate users to the privacy of their personal data, as well as for state security interests.
“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,” Nikiforov said in the statement released late on Tuesday.
For any company, providing anyone with the source code will be similar to handing over a trade secret. It will be interesting to see how Apple and SAP responds to this request and if they provide their source codes to Russian government. And if they do, it won’t be surprising if other countries follow Russia because not only Russia, but many other countries are raising concerns over being spied by NSA.
Neither Apple nor SAP has yet commented on this topic.