Posted by John Scarrow General Manager of Safety
Last week the Microsoft
Digital Crimes Unit filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court under the
federal CAN-SPAM Act against the perpetrators of what we believe to be
one of the largest-ever spam attacks on Windows Live Hotmail. The
lawsuit –Microsoft Corporation v. Boris Mizhen, et al. – alleges
defendants engaged in an elaborate scheme to evade Microsoft’s filters
by abusing Microsoft’s Junk E-Mail Reporting Program (JMRP)
and Smart Network Data Services (SNDS) to send
vast quantities of spam each day. JMRP and SNDS are free services
designed to help protect Windows Live Hotmail customers from spam by
encouraging people to report it and to help improve our spam filters by
identifying legitimate mail as such.
In our lawsuit, we allege
that defendants opened millions of Hotmail e-mail accounts and hired
people to manually identify spam mails as legitimate mails in order to
trick Hotmail into classifying spam as legitimate mail. Such actions
undermine the measures we’ve put in place to protect people. We take
this abuse very seriously, and while Hotmail and our SmartScreen filter continue to work to block spam
from this identified scheme, we’ll keep investigating and pursuing spam
attacks to protect our network and our customers.
Posted by Scott Charney Corporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing
Today I’m testifying at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing is on the benefits and risks of the federal government’s adoption of cloud computing.
Cloud computing in its many forms creates tremendous new opportunities for cost savings, flexibility, scalability and improved computing performance for government, enterprises and citizens. At the same time, it presents new security, privacy and reliability challenges, which raise questions about functional responsibility (who must maintain controls) and legal accountability (who is legally accountable if those controls fail). Customers, including the government, need to make informed decisions about adoption of the cloud and its various service models because the model that is embraced will entail different allocations of responsibility between the customer and the cloud provider(s).
This shifting responsibility requires that both cloud providers and governments take seriously their distinct and shared responsibilities for addressing the security, privacy and reliability of cloud services. Both customers and cloud providers must understand their respective roles. Customers must be able to communicate their compliance requirements, and cloud providers must be transparent about the controls in place to meet those requirements:
Posted by Nancy Anderson Corporate Vice President and
Deputy General Counsel Today in Washington, DC, the
National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) and other leading industry and
consumer protection organizations are announcing the worldwide launch of Internet Fraud Alert. It’s a new
program to help make the Internet a safer and more productive place for
consumers and businesses.
Through a centralized alert system
powered by Microsoft technology and managed by NCFTA, Internet
Fraud Alert provides a new, powerful tool to quickly inform financial
and online companies about compromised customer account credentials
(such as online usernames and passwords) or stolen credit card numbers.
With this information, institutions can take action to protect their
customers from further fraud against their accounts.
effects of fraud can be devastating to people and the financial and
online institutions whose services they use. Last year, according to the
Anti-Phishing Working Group,
one million U.S. households lost money or had accounts misused as a
result of phishing, at a cost of $650 million. APWG’s recent data
suggests that phishers are exploiting more brands than ever before.
online fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated in their endeavors,
so too have public/private countermeasures. But we’re not yet as
effective as we could be. For example, when compromised or stolen
account information is uncovered, there is no easy way to determine the
company responsible for the account or how best to report the problem –
which wastes valuable time and resources.
Posted by Peter Cullen Chief Privacy Strategist
have been actively engaged in privacy issues for over a decade, first
at the Royal Bank of Canada and now as Chief Privacy Strategist for
Microsoft since 2003.
During that time privacy has rarely
received as much attention as it’s getting now. Mainstream media from
Good Morning America to USA Today regularly have stories about
everything from shifting online privacy policies to unauthorized
collections and use of personal data. At the same time, some in the
tech industry have suggested that social networking and other new
technologies are making privacy obsolete.
Given the high level
of interest, I’m pleased to be in San Jose this afternoon to deliver the
keynote address at the Computers,
Freedom and Privacy conference.
Microsoft has been working
on online privacy issues since launching MSN in 1994. We’ve had our
challenges along the way, but we’ve learned from our mistakes and
privacy has become increasingly central to everything we do.
this year, in a speech at the University of Washington, Steve
Ballmer said: “As a mature and responsible organization, we have got to
lead with privacy.”
And this is very much Microsoft’s goal. To
apply what we’ve learned in the past around privacy to today’s rapidly
evolving landscape of social media, information flows and the cloud.
One reason we are focused on privacy is because it still very much
matters to our customers- it remains a matter of “trust.”
social media may be pushing the boundaries around privacy and altering
certain behaviors, heavy users of social media – including young people
who some claim don’t know better -- value and fiercely protect their
right to privacy.
Posted by Patrick Brazel CEO of Zignals
(Cross posted from The
Official Microsoft Blog)
In 2008, the financial markets changed fundamentally and
completely. The causes will be debated and they of course predate the
collapse. But there is no argument that the summer of 2008 is when the
market certainties that had prevailed since 1945 evaporated.
was at this time that my business partner and I had been working on a
plan to address what we saw as a huge gap in the financial market. We
saw a need to empower individual investors with the online capabilities
that were available only to professional or major institutions. At the
same time, we wanted to create opportunities for a new class of
researchers to earn from its expertise by being paid for the strategies
it creates and publishes.
We believed strongly that the model
had to change — something different was needed. We had a compelling idea
and a strong plan, but were searching for the technology to lift it off
Around that time, while attending an event hosted
by Enterprise Ireland the economic development arm of the Irish
government, I was introduced to Microsoft’s IP Ventures program. We learned that IP Ventures
identifies innovative technology developed at Microsoft, and provides it
to interested entrepreneurs like us to start new businesses. We brought
the idea and our financial services experience to the table, and after
approving our plans, IP Ventures gave us access to IP assets, as well as
the support and business guidance we needed to help us develop our idea
into something concrete.
Posted by Fred Humphries Managing Director, U.S. Government Affairs
Last night, an important audience experienced Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that children use digital media and video games in safer, healthier, and more balanced ways. The audience was the U.S. Congress.
In cooperation with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Shimkus (R-IL), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Microsoft and the Get Game Smart program hosted Capitol Hill Family Game Night. More than 150 members of Congress, staff and their family members were joined at this educational event by parents and children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.
Posted by Nancy Anderson Corporate Vice President and
Deputy General Counsel
This week the Obama Administration
released the nation’s first-ever Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property
Enforcement. Joining Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Intellectual
Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel in announcing the plan
were Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Commerce Secretary
Gary Locke. The plan demonstrates the Administration’s strong commitment
to protecting intellectual property and promoting job creation and
growth. Microsoft is pleased to support it.
As the Joint
Strategic Plan recognizes, “Intellectual property supports jobs across
all industries, and in particular where there is a high degree of
creativity, research and innovation.” A prime example is the software
industry, which has been a remarkable engine for jobs and economic growth. According to
Software Alliance, the software and related services sector
employed almost 2 million people in the United States in 2007, in jobs
that paid 195 percent of the average wage. The sector contributed more
than $261 billion to U.S. GDP in 2007, making it the largest of the U.S.
copyright industries, and its overseas earnings added a $37 billion
surplus to the U.S. balance of trade in 2009.
Posted by Caroline Curtin Policy Counsel, U.S. Government
A broad-based group representing the technology industry, public
interest groups, and the federal government has released a report—“Youth
Safety on a Living Internet”—that exploresindustry efforts to make the Internet a safer place
The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) was
established by the Broadband Data Improvement Act. Passed by Congress in
2008, the legislation directed the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration to create the OSTWG in order to examine
industry efforts to promote online safety and evaluate the development
of parental control technologies.
I participated on Microsoft’s behalf—along with more than 30 child
safety experts from the public and private sectors—in the OSTWG meetings
over the last year.
I learned many things during my year with the OSTWG, but one meeting
particularly stands out. We invited middle and high school students from
Washington, D.C. schools to talk about their experiences on the
Internet. Students expressed genuine concern for their “digital
reputations” and how unintended consequences of the pictures they post
and messages they leave on social networks could potentially affect
their ability to get into college or attain a job.
Posted by Caroline Curtin Policy Counsel, U.S.
Yesterday the U.S. Senate proclaimed June as
National Internet Safety month, part of a nationwide effort to raise
public awareness of potential online threats.
we’re continually looking for new ways to share online safety tips and
tools with parents and children. Recently we worked with the nation’s
largest school system – the New York City Department of Education – to
develop a four-part Internet safety video called Clicking with Caution. The video series will be
distributed to all NYC middle-school students this week.
especially excited about this safety video because it was produced by
teens for teens. ReelWorks, a New York City-based company that mentors
teens in the art of filmmaking, produced the documentary-style videos,
which focus on online awareness, online predators, cyber-bullying and
smart gaming. As the students in the video explain during a classroom
discussion about online safety, kids know more about the Internet than
adults do, in some ways, though they may not understand the risks.
Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President, Global
Corporate Affairsand Ravi Singh CEO of
The 2008 presidential election showed how powerful the Internet has
become in modern politics. From raising money to communicating with
constituents to organizing staff, cloud computing is enabling incredible
opportunities and efficiencies. Candidates are increasingly
using social media tools like Twitter to communicate directly with
voters, and Facebook recently launched a new U.S. Politics on Facebook
Page where people can track campaign and political activity
occurring on the social networking site. To help campaigns of
all sizes leverage the power of the Web, ElectionMall.com and
Microsoft have partnered to create Campaign
Cloud, a customizable platform of technologies that simplifies the
process of building and maintaining an online political presence.
Posted by Horacio Gutierrez Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
For more than a decade, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been criticized for long delays in the processing of patent applications and for issues around patent quality. Both can have negative impacts on innovation, as the USPTO recognized in a recent White Paper.
To address these problems, USPTO has done some innovating of its own. Director David Kappos announced a proposal earlier this month that grapples with the backlog issue and offers an opportunity for applicants to work with the Office to assign priority to pending applications. The “Three-Track” proposal would enable applicants, when they file, to request expedited review under Track I or delayed examination under Track III. Applicants that do not request either option would have their applications processed under current procedures (Track II). We applaud the creative thinking and leadership behind the Three Track initiative. If carefully implemented, it will have real benefits for innovators of all sizes, from companies like Microsoft to small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as individual inventors and universities.
Guest Post by Jon Pincus Chief Technology Officer, Qworky Co-Chair,
Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference
The issue of privacy in social networks is on the cover of Time
magazine and is showing up in attack ads in political races. We're in
the midst of intense political battles over net neutrality and
cybersecurity. The one-year anniversary of the Iranian election protests
highlights the potential as well as the risks of online activism for
human rights. Issues like privacy of health-care information, the
'smart grid' and intelligent transportation systems are affecting more
and more people in their day-to-day lives.
And hey, guess what? All of these topics and more are on the agenda
for this week's 20th anniversary conference on Computers,
Freedom and Privacy in San Jose, California. On top of that, we’ll
draft a Social Network Users' Bill of Rights and wrap up the
conference with a debate and voting.
CFP is sponsored by the Association
for Computing Machinery (ACM) as part of its ongoing effort to
educate policymakers and the public on how computing and information
technologies are transforming our society. In aid of that, we're
webcasting many of the sessions, including Tuesday's opening session on Privacy and Free Speech: It's Good for Business and
Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist Peter Cullen’s Tuesday afternoon 5
p.m. PT keynote, on The Importance of Accountable and Privacy-Centric
Organization in the Cloud Era: Why Privacy Matters.
Posted by Mary Cullinane Director of Innovation and
Strategic Initiatives, Microsoft Worldwide Education
fanfare four years ago, teenagers began their high school careers at a
new school called The School of the Future. A partnership between the School District of
Philadelphia and Microsoft, the school was built to help lead the way
toward establishing a new norm in urban education: one where mediocrity
is no longer acceptable, every child can be successful and opportunity
is provided to all, not just those lucky enough to be chosen.
never forget that day and seeing the hope in students’ eyes. You could
sense their apprehension, but also their intense desire to embark on the
This week again I will witness the power of hope and
inspiration as 117 School of the Future students walk across the stage
and become what more than 35 percent of high school freshmen in this
country do not: graduates. They have surpassed their own expectations,
and it wasn’t easy. While more than 3,000 inquisitive visitors from 50
countries walked the hallways to observe the school first hand, students
overcame many challenges: Leadership changes, social and economic
pressures, and simply the challenge of being teenagers. Now they are
graduating, and – pay close attention here – every graduate has been
accepted into a technical school, community college or university.
Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force is seeking comments and holding meetings with Internet
stakeholders about “the impact of current privacy laws in the United
States and around the world on the pace of innovation in the information
economy.” The Department intends to issue a report that will likely
help shape the Administration’s policy engagement on Internet privacy.
Interest in privacy issues is more intense than ever because of the
world’s growing reliance on online interactions, the pervasive use of
mobile devices, the ubiquity of social networking and the rise of cloud
nature of the Internet as various jurisdictions come into play. Yet we
must get this right. As the Department noted in its request for
comments: “Proper use of personal information can play a critical,
value-added role, so establishing consumer trust and assuring
flexibility for innovators is vital.” We agree that it’s important to
identify policies that will help ensure “public confidence necessary for
full citizen participation with the Internet.”