Greek Government Announces Strategic Cooperation with Microsoft for the Security of IT systems

Athens, Oct. 31, 2003 — In a press conference held today at Zappeion Hall, the Greek Minister for the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, Mr. Costas Skandalidis, announced the signing of an agreement with Microsoft, initiating the participation of the Greek government in the Microsoft Government Security Program (GSP).

This program is an integral part of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing initiative. It provides governments and organizations with controlled access to the Microsoft® Windows®
source code and technical information they need to be confident of Windows platform security. Among the early adopters of the program were Great Britain, NATO and Russia, while Austria, Finland, Norway, Taiwan and Australia, among others, have followed.

In his speech during the press conference at Zappeion Hall, Mr. Skandalidis, Minister, said to press representatives: “The participation of the Greek government in the Government Security Program demonstrates our strong interest in security issues related to the use of modern technology. E-government is one of the strategic goals of our government, in our effort to satisfy the needs of our citizens in the most efficient way, through the gradual restructuring and upgrading of the services offered by public administration. In this context, I believe that the cooperation between public administration and the IT industry is an important prerequisite in order to face common challenges in the future successfully, including the major issue of computing systems’ security.”

Mr. Jean-Phillipe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Senior Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, stated: “We welcome the participation of the Greek government to the group of countries already joining in Microsoft Government Security Program. This important agreement lays the foundation for future efforts of cooperation in the field of IT security. Microsoft is constantly launching new initiatives on security issues, in order to address efficiently the rising number of security threats and ultimately ensure the safest computing environment possible. Microsoft’s commitment is to continue its close cooperation with governments for the implementation of the e-Europe vision”.

Mr. Panagiotis Georgiadis, General Secretary of Public Administration for the Ministry of the Interior and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Athens, stated: “This agreement creates a better environment for the development of applications within the Ministry of the Interior, which will comply with high security standards. In that context, the General Secretariat of Public Administration will examine the methodology and the field of application and will take initiatives in order to promote the framework to all interested parties”.

Mr. Christos Tsangos, Managing Director of Microsoft Hellas, commented: “The main goal of this agreement with the Greek government is to establish a platform for the exchange of information. The Government Security Program encourages further cooperation on IT security issues and constitutes another step towards Trustworthy Computing — an initiative focused on improving the inherent security, privacy and reliability of our products and services.”

The Government Security Program is one integral element in Microsoft’s efforts to address the unique security requirements of governments around the world. Providing governments with controlled access to source code and technical information on Microsoft® Windows®
platform, this program better enables participating governments to design, build, deploy and maintain secure computing environments. The GSP is global — more than 60 countries and territories are eligible to participate in it.

Additionally, the GSP fosters partnership between Microsoft and the national governments by providing increased interaction opportunities and customized guidance on certain projects identified by program participants. Furthermore, the GSP is the basis for future technical partnerships through increased interaction, trust and relationship building.

In particular, the GSP provides all participating governments — including the Greek government – with:

  • Instant access to source code for the most current versions, beta releases and service packs of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows CE.

  • Expansive disclosure of technical information for the engineering-level understanding of Windows architecture

  • Enhanced ability to conduct security and privacy audits and to design, build and maintain secure computing environments

  • Access to cryptographic code and software development tools (subject to certain U.S. export regulations)

  • Source code training

  • Communication and collaboration with Microsoft security professionals

  • Opportunities for visits by government representatives to Microsoft development facilities in Redmond, Washington

The GSP is one of Microsoft’s efforts to cooperate, listen to its customers’ needs and address the specialized security requirements of governments throughout the world. In 2001, Microsoft introduced the Shared Code initiative, as part of its long-term efforts to make Window’s source code more transparent to its loyal partners and customers. Furthermore, in 2002, Microsoft announced the Trustworthy Computing initiative, placing security at the forefront of Window’s development. The GSP builds upon the Common Criteria certification, one of the most significant security certifications, achieved by Microsoft’s Windows 2000 platform in October 2002.

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