Is Microsoft Guilty of Treason?

This story on ZDnet details a deal made between Microsoft and the nation of China. It seems that China has been leaning toward the Linux OS because they can inspect every aspect of it to rule out security holes, etc (The source code for Linux Is considered “open” i.e. freely available for scrutiny/modification)
In order to curtail this, Microsoft has agreed to release the source code of it’s software to China–Something they said would be dangerous to national security.
I now, if the code were released to everyone, the holes would be spotted quickly and fixed (usually) before they got out of hand. How can one justify releasing the source to a nation which in recent years hasn’t held us in such high esteem (than again, who does these days?), while not letting our own people look it over?

For those who think Microsoft has it well in hand in the security department, and the software doesn’t need to be scrutinized by an outside entity: Check this out.

Microsoft ain’t guilty of anything unless Bill Gates say’s they are.

Are they breaking a law? Is China an enemy? Are they sharing technology that the government has said they couldn’t share? If not, then it isn’t treason.

According to Microsoft in previous eras, having the source would allow people to exploit it when launching attacks against it. While I don’t necessarily buy that logic, we are not exactly headed for a bright, uncontroversial future with China, what with them building their already immense military up largely with us in mind. So China having the Windows source, while the rest of us don’t have it to patch and defend potential holes and exploits, would certainly be a powerful strategic advantage in the event of them needing to mount electronic attacks on us or spy on us (which they, of course, already do).

Indeed, the whole reason China wants the source in the first place is because they fear us doing the same thing to them.

Less dangerous than you think. China isn’t going to hand it over to hackers, adn they know they have much more to lose from launching a net assault on the US than anyone else. Besides, they’re sure to know that nearly every computer in America can (and if important, already has) been made pretty darn secure.

I wouldn’t get your pants in a knot over this.

Reading the press release, the source code isn’t actually released to anyone:

From Microsoft’s web site:

Note the phrase ‘code review tool’ – What seems to be happening is that someone can sit down and review/read the source for Windows, but doesn’t get a real, compilable copy of same – in other words, they can check for errors or how a particular aspect functions, but they don’t get a CD-R full of C++ code that the Chinese government can use to roll thier own copy of windows.

The problem with that is, the people who are making them secure suddenly know a hell of alot less about the systems they are trying to protect than the attackers do. New security flaws happen every day, but now, China is in alot better position to find them than anyone else (except Microsoft itself, follow the link in my OP to see if they give a crap about security)

Microsoft is a corporation.

Treason applies only to individuals.

So are company executives liable for treason? Not likely under the Constitutional definition.

Stupid? Perhaps.

Greedy? Yes!

Keep in mind, McAfee and other antivirus software companies had to provide source code to several hundred viruses, trojans, worms, etc., to the Chinese government before they could do business in China. WTF? Anyone notice an increase in in computer viruses emanating from that part of the world yet?

So with the Chinese government having the Microsoft source code, anyone care to speculate when an increase in Windows and Office problems start appearing?

Okay, okay… maybe “Treason” is a little strong. Sure caught your eye though huh? no? oh… nevermind.

Still a valid debate IMO.

—Microsoft is a corporation.
Treason applies only to individuals.—

Ah. So if american citizens who are part of Al Queda form a legitimate corporation, and the corporation then creates biological weapons that they sell to Iran for use against U.S. military targets, they can’t be charged with treason?

I’m not trying to defend a charge of treason against Micrsoft here: the worst this could be is hypocritical stupidity. Just interested if being a corporation can and should protect its component individuals from their bad acts.

Microsoft makes it’s source code available to certain governments and special large corporate users. China is certainly not the first. This has been going on for years.

I hope that’s sarcasm. The hackers, of course, are likely to actively seek such information - what extraordinary measures are the Chineese officals receiving it going to take to keep it away from the hackers? What’s to prevent one of them from handing the code over to others, due to bribery, blackmail, information-should-be-free hippie principles, or simple incompotence?

One of Microsoft’s objections to releasing source code, in any form, has been precisely that it would be possible to “check for errors or how a particular aspect functions,” which is indeed a security issue.

Microsoft’s stance on this matter is blatant hypocrisy. They do what they believe will earn them the most money; it’s that simple.

Of course, Linux source code is also available to China, as well as everyone else in the world who wants it, and its adherents consider that a positive thing for security. The real stupidity on Microsoft’s part is not in allowing its code to be seen by China, but in relying on the method of keeping it security holes hidden to be secure.

Maybe so, but it’s still not treason.

The individual citizens can be charged with treason. The corporation cannot. A corporate form does not insulate any individual for criminal behavior for which the individual is personally responsible, even if the individual was acting within the course and scope of duties being performed on the corporation’s behalf.

For example, if ABC Corporation’s board of directors passes a resolution ordering that its president’s duties include murdering of any executive who heads a competitor, and the president in fact murders a rival executive, then the president is criminally liable for murder but the corporation is not. Other corporate officers or directors may be criminally liable for murder or for conspiracy if they participated in the scheme, and it is not a defense that the corporation ordered the crimes. The corporation may be civilly liable for wrongful death, racketeering, or on various other common-law or statutory bases, but the corporate entity itself cannot become a criminal defendant on a charge of murder (or treason). There are crimes that a corporation can commit, usually regulatory in nature, but murder and treason are not among them.