Nils Torvalds, member of the European Parliament for Finland and more famously the father of Linux founder Linus Torvalds, disclosed in a European Parliament hearing last week that the NSA had contacted his son to ask about injecting backdoors in the Linux/GNU kernel:
This week’s disclosure came in Nils Torvalds response to Engström’s questioning:
“When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.”
Torvalds didn’t share his son’s response to the NSA, but it would be unfair to assume anything other than that he explained how even if he wanted to implement the kind of backdoors that the agency had in mind, it would be impractical and effectively impossible in the open-source environment that Linux is developed in as any changes are always reviewed by a host of developers.