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 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 Anthony Salcito Vice President, Worldwide
Six years ago in the Western Heights School District near Oklahoma
City, nearly half of all students were dropping out before they could
graduate. This was unacceptable, Superintendent Joe Kitchens decided,
and began looking for a solution. He thought that by collecting data --
such as grades, attendance, socio-economic factors and other variables
-- his teachers and counselors could better understand what was
happening with students, why they would suddenly disengage and lose
interest in class, and then proactively intervene with specialized
programs to keep more students in school. The district deployed a new
data system for tracking student progress, and today, Western Heights
has reduced its dropout rate from 45 percent to 21 percent -- an amazing
I’m lucky enough to have traveled to hundreds of schools around the
United States over the years. Nearly everywhere I’ve been, reducing
high-school drop-out rates has been one of the leading educational
challenges. About 26 percent of incoming high school freshman will not
graduate high school on time, according to the National Center for
Education Statistics. And the overall graduation rate has changed little
over the last three decades, despite advances in curriculum and
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 Teresa
Carlson Vice President, Microsoft Federal
(Cross-posted from the Microsoft FutureFed blog)
The National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) held an event last week that brought
stakeholders in the federal IT community together to discuss cloud
standards for data portability, interoperability, and security. It was
called the Cloud Computing Forum &
Workshop, and members of the Microsoft Federal team attended to
brainstorm ideas on how we can best facilitate cloud adoption in the
Below is a great recap from Susie Adams, Microsoft’s Federal Civilian
and IGO Chief Technology Officer.
Last week I attended the National Institute for Standards &
Technology (NIST) Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop, and it was clearly
a serious effort to kick off collaboration between government and
industry to accelerate the use of cloud technology. Dr. Pat Gallagher,
Director of NIST, believes that cloud computing can make the U.S.
government “more effective, more efficient, and we believe more secure.”
However, Dr. Gallagher indicated that the government is falling behind
the private sector in adopting cloud services, and that he shares the
concern of Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer, that
government does not offer citizens and employees online services as
robust as the commercial services of Facebook, for example.
Posted by William KennedyCorporate
Vice President, Office Communications and Forms
Many customers today organize their private and professional lives in
e-mail, where they routinely store essential data. Microsoft Outlook
and similar programs have long since replaced the rolodex or the pocket
diary as people’s primary repositories for contacts, photos, calendar
items and more. As the tools we use change, so do the reasons we use
them. If you’ve ever searched through old e-mail for a friend’s phone
number, or if you work within an organization concerned about regulatory
and compliance issues, you likely understand why having easy access to
the data stored in e-mail files is important.
Given the importance of Outlook and our other high-volume products to
computer users we’ve taken great strides to advance their openness and
transparency, in keeping with our Interoperability
Principles. Today, we have met another milestone on the path
toward greater interoperability.
This spring, we released detailed
technical documentation for a file format (.pst) used in recent
versions of, Microsoft Outlook, our most popular e-mail application. By
releasing the technical documentation and protocols for communicating
with Outlook data, we are making it easier to enhance corporate
compliance, e-Discovery, security, search, and enterprise content
management. These types of applications can interoperate with the .pst
data, even if they run on other platforms – including those of our
documentation we have released provides a new way of accessing this
data, regardless of whether Outlook is installed.
Posted by John Vassallo Vice President EU Legal and
(Cross posted from microsoft.eu)
Microsoft welcomes the “Digital Agenda for Europe,” announced
earlier this week by European Commission Vice-President for the
Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, as a bold roadmap for action. We share the
Commission’s view that technology is an enabler for economic growth, job
creation, sustainability and social inclusion. As a company, we are
fully committed to working with the European Commission and governments
to realize the potential of Europe's digital future.
The Digital Agenda sets out concrete actions in a number of important
areas, such as harmonizing the delivery of pan-EU digital services,
driving connectivity and broadband penetration, as well as promoting
interoperability across the range of the ICT agenda. These actions can
act as a spur for Europe’s competitiveness and for the broader
innovation and economic growth agenda. The Digital Agenda also addresses
online security, data privacy and identity management so that Europe’s
Internet users have greater trust and confidence online. We commend this
action and the preparation for measures that address jurisdiction in
cyberspace at European and International level. These steps are
essential to pave the way for the roll-out of next generation
technologies, like cloud computing, that will benefit citizens and
business across Europe.
Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President, Global
On Thursday we hosted our first citizenship “Accelerator Summit,” a
day of open discussion on our corporate citizenship efforts. The
conversation was based on how technology and partnerships can accelerate
change on social and economic issues. The event included a variety of
different sessions related to workforce development, education,
environment, online safety, and the role of technology in the non-profit
community. It was attended by government and nongovernmental partners,
academics, journalists and bloggers.
Events like this provide us with the opportunity to shine a light on
the big problems we are working with others to try to solve. We have
learned that partnership must be at the very center of our efforts. We
don’t have all the answers and we are always learning. We learn from
the feedback we receive, we learn from working with partners and we
learn from how people are using our products and services – often in
ways we never imagined.
When we formalized our citizenship program in 2003, we realized there
were efforts underway across every part of the company. It became
apparent that we had a great opportunity to increase the impact of those
activities by bringing them together.
Posted by David Bowermaster Administrator, Microsoft on
For the past five years Corporate Counsel
magazine has conducted an annual review to identify the country’s
top in-house legal teams. This week, we were pleased to learn that
Corporate Counsel has named Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs the Best Legal Department
Corporate Counsel has published a lengthy
story online that reviews many of the accomplishments and
challenges overcome by Microsoft’s legal team in recent years, many of
which will be familiar to frequent readers of this blog. The online
content package includes a video
interview with Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, as well as
commentary from Corporate
Counsel Executive Editor Brian Zabcik on the magazine’s selection
process and the editors’ reasons for naming Microsoft this year’s
Folks in Redmond are feeling both honored and humbled by Corporate
Counsel’s accolades and want to congratulate their fellow honorees in
the legal departments at Discover Financial Services, Hewlett-Packard
Company and The Williams Companies.
Posted by Tim Cranton Associate General Counsel, Microsoft
Digital Crimes Unit
Online advertising fuels much of the Internet activity we enjoy
today, enabling free services and unprecedented content flows. For
this marketplace to continue enabling rich online experiences, it needs
to be based on a trusted platform. Advertisers need to have confidence
they are getting what they pay for.
Unfortunately, deceitful online activity known as ‘click fraud’
undermines the integrity of the online advertising market, skewing the
platform decidedly against advertisers. For this reason, Microsoft’s Digital
Crimes Unit has been working with Microsoft Advertising and
others in the online advertising space to identify and address fraud as
it evolves. Towards that end, Microsoft this week filed two federal
lawsuits against perpetrators of what we believe to be a new and complex
form of click fraud that we refer to as “click laundering.”
Click fraud typically occurs when a person or computer program
imitates a legitimate Web surfer and clicks on an online ad for the
purpose of generating a fraudulent “charge-per-click,” without having
any interest in the target of the ad’s link.
Click laundering is a technically-advanced form of click fraud
designed to circumvent fraud detection systems by hiding the origins of
fraudulent clicks – “laundering” them through apparently legitimate
One form of click laundering involves computers infected with
malicious software that delivers rogue search results. Without the
user’s knowledge, the infected computer mimics a legitimate search
engine, but returns search results adulterated with useless parked
domains – i.e., Web addresses that appear to be relevant search results,
but contain no meaningful content. The unwitting user opens one of the
parked domains, clicks a link or two, realizes it’s not what he or she
is looking for and closes the window. What seems like a harmless
digital dead end is, in fact, a laundered ad click that appears
legitimate to an ad platform provider such as Microsoft but offers no
value to the advertiser who would be charged for it.
Posted by Peter Cullen Chief Privacy Strategist
Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce is holding a symposium
in Washington, D.C. to examine the important nexus between privacy and
innovation in the online world. The meeting, hosted by Commerce
Secretary Gary Locke, is part of the department’s recently announced
comprehensive review of Information
Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy.
I have been invited to participate on a panel at today’s event that
will look at how U.S. and international privacy protections and
enforcement are working in practice, and explore how the U.S. legal
system can influence privacy protection in the private sector and
This review is coming at a critical juncture. Social media and
mobile computing are pushing societal boundaries and expectations around
privacy. At the same time, increasing flows and aggregation of data
brought about by cloud computing, ambiguities in domestic privacy laws
and fissures in the global regulatory framework are accelerating the
need for updated online privacy protections. Each of these trends
present challenges for organizations seeking to responsibly manage data
across geographical boundaries while minimizing risk. Microsoft and our
industry partners called on Congress to enact comprehensive federal
privacy legislation four years ago, and the rapid pace of change in the
Internet environment is making our call for baseline privacy protections
even more urgent.
My comments today will focus on Microsoft’s fundamental belief that
the right balance between innovation and privacy protection can indeed
be achieved. To accomplish this goal, baseline privacy legislation needs
to be flexible, applicable across sectors and technology neutral. It
can build upon the current regulatory framework and should operate in
tandem with elements of existing self-regulation, enforcement,
privacy-enhancing technologies and sound business practices. Getting the
balance right will also require close cooperation between industry,
government, advocates and consumers. Today’s event is an important step
in fostering that dialogue.
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 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.
Last March I was privileged to announce
an expansion of Microsoft’s Elevate
America program to address the specific challenges that face U.S.
military veterans and their spouses as they transition to civilian life.
Our Elevate America Veterans
Initiative will bring together a coalition of partners, through a
competitive grant process, to provide veterans and their spouses with a
host of services and resources, including technology skills training,
job placement, career counseling, childcare, transportation and housing.
The response to this initiative has been incredible, and we’re
fortunate to have support from great organizations such as The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan
Veterans of America, Paralyzed
Veterans of America, United Service
Organizations (USO) and Wounded
Warrior Project. They’ve agreed to act as our advisors, ensuring
that the programs and services offered will make a real difference in
the lives of veterans.
Today we’re releasing a request for
proposals to organizations across the country that want to get
involved. We’re encouraging all interested organizations to review the
eligibility criteria, partner with others in their local community and
apply for funding if they have programs that will help veterans succeed
in the civilian workforce.
Microsoft is grateful to America’s veterans for all they’ve done to
protect and serve our country, and we’re excited about this initiative.
We’ll be sharing more details as we move forward.