August, 2010

  • Technology in Action: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

    Posted by Tim Cranton
    Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

    For most of the 11 years I’ve worked at Microsoft, I’ve focused on ways to fight the constantly evolving threat of cybercrime. Computer facilitated crimes have many faces, and by far the most difficult and heartrending crimes I’ve come across in this work are crimes against children.  Consequently, some of the most rewarding experiences of my career have been those opportunities to work with the many incredible organizations around the world making a difference to protect children, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

    For 26 years, NCMEC has worked to help find missing children, prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, and help the victims of abduction and sexual exploitation on their path to recovery. The children and families affected by these tragedies face difficult challenges and NCMEC’s support and service to these families has a profound impact. 

    To help ensure NCMEC continues to have the tools it needs to carry on its critical mission, Microsoft this month made one of the largest singular software grants ever given through our Unlimited Potential program – a donation of software worth more than $1.9 million.  The grant brings the total software donations to NCMEC to more than $3.1 million to date, and includes a range of tools that will be applied to a variety of operational needs for the organization.

  • World Humanitarian Day – Honoring those who support people in need

    Posted by Claire Bonilla
    Senior Director of Disaster Management

    In recognition of World Humanitarian Day on August 19, Microsoft commends the thousands of aid workers who have devoted their lives to bringing assistance to others. The international humanitarian community is facing new challenges spawned by climate change, chronic poverty, food crisis, water and energy scarcity, migration, population growth, urbanization, pandemics, and natural disasters. While much has been achieved, the challenges faced by many millions of people around the world are still daunting and the need for effective humanitarian action is greater than ever.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is leading the UN’s efforts around the world commemorating World Humanitarian Day. Microsoft has been working with UNOCHA to develop OneResponse, a collaborative inter-agency web portal which has been used to enhance humanitarian coordination during disasters like the devastating Haiti earthquake and recent floods in Pakistan.

    Personally, I would like to pay tribute to the humanitarian community which has improved the capability to respond rapidly and effectively beyond all recognition in the last 20 years. This is largely due to the dedication of all who have worked tirelessly and contributed their ideas and actions to support the people in need.

    As a technology leader, Microsoft is committed to helping humanitarian workers and agencies with the important work they do around the world by providing technology that makes collaboration and communication easier, faster and more efficient. We believe technology has and will continue to transform the way organizations operate to help in the world both in times of disaster and in ongoing humanitarian and development work.

  • A More Perfect Union for Collaborative Learning

    Posted by Cameron Evans
    National and Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Education

    Cameron Evans
    Cameron Evans

    At EDUCOMM 2010, identity was one of the most tweeted topics during the panel session when I remarked, “…it’s easier for me to enter a foreign country than it is to log into a university network!”  I took the laughter as both agreement and the stark reality of managing identity in higher education.  As of last week, Microsoft is now an InCommon Affiliate, which means that institutions can get community support to implement federated identity networks more quickly and cost effectively so students and faculty won’t need multiple credentials to collaborate and be productive between schools and universities. InCommon is part of Internet2 and is dedicated to creating and supporting a common framework for trustworthy shared access of online materials in support of education and research in the United States.

    Federated Identity is not single sign-on.  I like the analogy that the United States is a federation of states. We share common infrastructure across all of the states in order to facilitate commerce and our lives.  But what if you couldn’t use that common infrastructure to access another state unless you were first given permission from that state?  What would happen to the productivity of our nation if we were confined to only doing business within each state’s borders with each state’s local resources?  For most colleges and universities today, that analogy provides a picture of their campus network and the lingering limitations on collegial collaboration and productivity.