Microsoft to Protect Russian NGOs From Politically Motivated Piracy Raids

Sep 21 2010 - 13:57

On September 14, 2010, Microsoft announced it would give the Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some media, free software, after the computer giant was accused of assisting the Russian authorities in confiscating government opponents’ computers under the pretext of searching for unlicensed software.

On September 11, 2010, the New York Times reported that Microsoft allegedly ignored requests for help from the targeted organizations and that the company’s Russian attorneys assisted the police in seizures.

According to the report, one targeted organization was a popular environmental group, Baikal Environmental Wave, which organized protests following the government’s decision to reopen a factory that had been polluting Lake Baikal in Siberia, the world’s oldest and deepest lake and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Faced with these accusations, Microsoft’s Moscow office representative stated the company is preparing free software packages for the NGOs and that it would announce more details soon. The company might also provide the NGOs with a new software license that would prove that they own legal software.

For more information, please contact Jelena Jankovic at our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP), The New York Times

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