Symantec no longer gives governments access to source code

Symantec no longer gives governments access to the source code of its software. So says Greg Clark, the company’s CEO. According to him, giving access is too great a risk for the security of the software.

Clark makes the statements in an interview with Reuters. The same news agency announced in June that various companies, including IBM, Cisco and SAP, are providing governments with access to their source code on request. At the time, Symantec was also mentioned, but the company is said to have discontinued it. The CEO has now officially confirmed this for the first time.

Governments want to view the source code of software to rule out the presence of backdoors. According to Reuters, Russia is asking all Western tech companies that make security products such as firewalls and antivirus software to view the source code before the products can be sold in the country.

Symantec says the security risk associated with accessing the source code does not outweigh any lost revenue. Clark admits that Symantec’s market share in Russia is relatively small and that this made the decision easier than for competitors.

Last week, Reuters revealed that HP Enterprise had given a Russian company acting on behalf of the government access to the source code of ArcSight. Several large companies, banks and government agencies use ArcSight, including the Pentagon. HPE states that access was only provided under supervision, at a location outside of Russia.