Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday that it will provide national governments with controlled access to Microsoft Windows source code and other technical information to be confident in the security features of the Windows platform.

Microsoft said national governments face more serious security threats than other technology consumers do. The Government Security Program is a global initiative to address the unique security requirements of governments and international organizations, the Redmond, Wash., software maker said.

Russia and NATO have signed agreements with Microsoft, and the company is in discussions with more than 20 countries. Those participating in the program will be disclosed at the discretion of each government signatory, Microsoft said.

The GSP is a no-fee initiative that enables program participants to review Windows source code using a code review tool, which is subject to certain license restrictions. In addition to source access, the program provides for the disclosure of technical information about the Windows platform. The program also promotes increased communication and collaboration between Microsoft security experts.