Did NSA contact Linus for a backdoor in Linux? [updated]
It looks like the National Security Agency (NSA) may have asked Linus Torvalds about inserting a back-door into his open-source operating system.
Back in September, when the creator of Linux was asked at the LinuxCon conference whether he was approached by a government agency to add backdoors into GNU/Linux, Torvalds said ‘no’ responding to the question while shaking his head ‘yes’. Interestingly, he took no time in repeating “no” while shaking his head in the negative.
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Nils Torvalds, Linus’ father, recently talked about the incident at a committee inquiry held on the ‘Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens’. He is a Member of the European Parliament for Finland.
A question was put to a Microsoft representative by Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström on whether the company offers deliberate “backdoors” for the NSA in their system. But the spokeswoman never responded to that question for obvious reasons.
And this is what Nils had to say:
When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer …everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.
Following on from allegations that big names like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Microsoft too willfully cooperate with the agency to compromise the security of their systems, it’s very interesting to hear that US spooks did make an attempt to attack Linux at its lead developer, too.
Whether NSA contacted Linus or not still remains a mystery.