As a reaction of a judgement of the German High court, which banned certain surveillance methods, Minister Schäuble got involved with the so called 'Federal Trojan' debate where he and politicians openly advocated the use of trojans for online surveillance, to be used by the German intelligence service of the interiour. The problem of course is the world wide web which makes 'national solutions' impossible. Therefore Betanews speculated:
Thus it seems likely that, if Schäuble’s efforts to codify online surveillance methods are successful, not only could German officials use malware to search computers outside of German borders, but the information …could be shared with agencies that also lie outside those borders – perhaps British, perhaps American.
and iterates the story of alledged NSA backdoors or cooperation that has little to do with the current Schäuble case as these backdoors would be directed against allied nations:
That possibility has led .. to speculate on the possibility of whether Microsoft may have worked in cooperation with the US National Security Agency to leave certain secret, exploitable “gaps” open to surveillance agencies. Microsoft and the NSA have raised suspicions, the online news service writes (in German), as to whether the security agency secretly and knowingly inserted “gaps” into Vista, knowing it could rely upon them later on. Such gaps, it was implied, could be shared with German and other European officials should Schäuble’s plan become law.
Which of course would mean that a German minister would tolerate American business espionage.
UPDATE 7:10 pm ET February 7, 2007 - A Microsoft spokesperson this evening responded to BetaNews' request for comment on this issue with a single sentence: "Microsoft does not build ‘back doors’ into the operating system."