Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President, Global
Earlier today I attended the 2010 Voices of Courage Awards luncheon in New York
hosted by the Women's
Refugee Commission, an organization that advocates for laws,
policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of
refugee and displaced women and young people.
The Women’s Refugee Commission emerged a decade ago as a leading
advocate for protection of women and unaccompanied children in the
United States. The Commission identified the need for legal
representation for the thousands of children who were appearing in U.S.
immigration court without a lawyer, despite the formal proceedings and
the sometimes life-and-death consequences of the judge’s ruling. The
Commission has also undertaken incredible work developing and
identifying economic opportunities for refugee women and children. We
share a common belief that providing sustained social and economic
opportunities for underserved populations, especially young people, is
key to building thriving communities and a better world.
During the event a number of incredible stories of how people and
organizations are working to address the refugee issue were showcased.
Among those recognized was Amalia Guzmán Molina, who is originally
from El Salvador and founded Families of the Incarcerated, which works
with the families of those who have been detained by immigration
services in the United States. Also honored was Deogratias Niyizonkiza,
who was born in Burundi and spent time in the United States before
setting up Village Health Works, a non-profit organization providing
free health care in Burundi to more than 28,000 patients, many of them
refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.
Posted by Tim Cranton Associate General Counsel, Microsoft
Digital Crimes Unit Today the FBI announced federal
indictments returned against three culprits charged with
disseminating a major malware scheme believed to have caused $100
million in losses to victims worldwide. The scheme revolved around a
form of malware called “scareware,” which falsely persuades consumers
that they need to purchase useless and expensive software to protect
their computers. Microsoft is proud to have supported the FBI and the
U.S. Department of Justice in these cases, which send a clear and
important message to cyber-criminals that they will be caught and
brought to justice. The scheme in these indictments was
global, complex and sophisticated. The scareware went by various names,
including WinFixer – meant to mislead consumers into associating the
bogus software with trusted Microsoft products. At one time, WinFixer
and its variants are thought to have been responsible for 75 percent of
Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President,
Global Corporate Affairs
With the addition of Louisiana and Ohio today, 32 states and the
District of Columbia have now joined Elevate America, an initiative we launched
15 months ago to provide people across the United States with access to
no-cost technology training and certification that helps them find
employment. So far, we’ve offered more than 800,000 free training and
certification vouchers through our partnerships with Alabama, Arizona,
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia,
Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon,
Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
We’ve learned a lot from working with these states. They’re each
facing complex economic challenges, but it’s very encouraging to see how
hard they’re working to reduce unemployment. Elevate America is
designed to help by strengthening workforce skills, specifically the
computer skills that half of today’s jobs require, and that will be
required by an estimated 77 percent of new jobs created in the next
decade. Of course, computer skills are just one set of skills that
people need to find employment, yet we’re already seeing firsthand how
important access to these skills can be.
Posted by Brad Smith Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Over the past few months, starting with my January speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., I’ve talked a lot about the great potential for cloud computing to increase the efficiency and productivity of governments, businesses and individual consumers. To realize those benefits, we need to establish regulatory and industry protections that give computer users confidence in the privacy and security of cloud data.
Today, I returned to Washington to continue the discussion as one of the plenary speakers at the Gov 2.0 Expo 2010.
As I shared during my presentation, we are constantly seeing powerful new evidence of the value of cloud computing.
Today, for example, we announced that the University of Arizona chose Microsoft’s cloud platform to facilitate communications and collaboration among the school’s 18,000 faculty and staff. After initially looking at various supposedly “free” online services, the institution selected Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite to update its aging e-mail system and to provide new calendaring and collaboration tools. U. of A. officials concluded that, as a research university that conducts $530 million in research annually, it needed the enterprise-level security and privacy protections that BPOS could provide, but which the alternative services could not match.
Posted by Annmarie Levins Associate General Counsel
Today I am testifying before a House
Judiciary Subcommittee that is contemplating reforms to the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an important but
increasingly outdated law passed by Congress in 1986. Microsoft is part
of a broad coalition that supports modernization of the legislation.
ECPA regulates whether and how law enforcement can compel third-party
telecommunications and Internet service providers to disclose user
account information and customers’ stored communications. ECPA was
originally designed to strike a balance between the legitimate needs of
law enforcement, the burdens on service providers in responding to
government demands for data and the public’s reasonable expectation of
In the nearly quarter-century since ECPA became law, the balance has
shifted between the rights of users and law enforcement. Technological
advancements—rather than decisions by Congress—have put more of our
sensitive personal information within the reach of law enforcement.
As our General Counsel Brad Smith stated in his speech
at the Brookings Institution in January, Microsoft believes that
now is a critical time to address these issues. We are on the cusp of a
potentially transformative age in Internet-based “cloud computing.”
Cloud computing services have the potential to increase efficiencies for
businesses and government, lower IT costs, create energy savings and
spur innovative job-creating enterprises. They can enable small and
medium-sized businesses, individual entrepreneurs and other innovators
to tap into computing resources that previously had been available only
to the largest companies. These capabilities can help drive innovation,
make American businesses more competitive and ultimately contribute to
But unless we are able to preserve and protect users’ privacy, the
potential of cloud computing will not be fulfilled. This is one reason
Microsoft has joined a broad coalition of advocacy groups, technology
companies, and academics in the launch of the Digital
Due Process Coalition. This Coalition is focused on updating ECPA
to account for the profound changes in technology over the last two
decades and to ensure that users’ legitimate expectations of privacy are
respected while also fulfilling the needs of law enforcement.