"A CARELESS mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that
special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency
have been secretly built into Windows. The NSA access system is
built into every version of the Windows operating system now in
use, except early releases of Windows 95 (and its predecessors).
The discovery comes close on the heels of the revelations
earlier this year that another US software giant, Lotus, had
built an NSA "help information" trapdoor into its Notes system,
and that security functions on other software systems had been
nevermind, found another link, its part of the cryptographic API, its a key to limit where different versions of windows can be exported to, they just didnt hide it well--allegedly, microsoft is still not talking bout it
I doubt any "feature" in Windows is accidental or incidental. Ever since Win98, it's been communicating back to the mothership in Washington about your computer's configuration and what other non-Microsoft software you're running. Just use a packet-sniffer and you see it sending stuff back all the time. Used to annoy the h*ll out of me when I had dial-up w/routing software and the modem would auto-dial every couple of minutes on its own... grrr....
The NSA does have a valid concern about cryptography technologies being exported outside of the US. But computer-technology and hacker smarts have way outpaced the NSA & FBI. Their toughest encryption methods were cracked fairly easily by some Europeans running a farm of Linux machines in parallel. On the other hand, it would take the NSA and FBI hundreds to thousands of years to break the publicly-available encryption methods on the market today... the tighter you squeeze your hand, the more grains of sand slips through.... heh, heh...