May, 2011

  • Microsoft Offers its Support for the Protect IP Act

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 – the PROTECT IP Act. We support the goals and approach of this important legislation, and urge the committee to report it.

    The PROTECT IP Act is aimed at providing new tools to challenge the proliferation of “rogue sites” -- Internet sites that are dedicated to infringing content or counterfeit goods. It would establish both governmental and private rights of action in an effort to address what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates to be a multi-billion dollar a year problem that threatens U.S. creators and innovators, places U.S. consumers at risk, harms our economy and costs American jobs.

  • Commitment to consumer privacy in Windows Phone 7

    Posted by Andy Lees
    President, Mobile Communications Business, Microsoft

    Many consumers and policymakers are asking important questions about how today’s phones are collecting and using information about a phone user’s location. The discussion has intensified over the past few weeks when the practices of two other companies in the mobile market were called into question. As a result, several members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to a number of companies that provide mobile phone services seeking clarity on this issue.

    We at Microsoft believe this is an important discussion to have. To that end, below, I’ve included what we’ve shared with Congress about the ways Microsoft has taken privacy into account proactively with Windows Phone 7. (You can also find a copy of our response here.)

  • Microsoft Releases Security Intelligence Report: Cybercriminals Increasingly Targeting Consumers

    Posted by Vinny Gullotto
    General Manager, Microsoft Malware Protection Center

    Today’s release of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report volume 10 is our most comprehensive global threat report to date, with in-depth regional threat intelligence for 117 countries from more than 600 million machines worldwide. The report highlights a polarization of cybercriminal behavior and an increasing trend of cybercriminals using “marketing-like” approaches and deception methods to target consumers.

    Since 2006, we have released 10 volumes of the Security Intelligence Report, providing customers with unparalleled insight into the software threat landscape and guidance to better protect themselves. The threat landscape has changed significantly during those years with advancements in security and privacy technology and general awareness of cybercrime.

  • Microsoft Joins UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education

    Posted by Linda Zecher
    Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft

    This week I was honored to represent Microsoft as we entered a new partnership with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Through this partnership we will endeavor to address the growing social and economic issue of unequal education opportunities and low literacy rates for women and girls across the world.

    Education and empowering women are two issues I am personally passionate about – a passion also shared by many of my colleagues at Microsoft and across the technology industry.

    On Thursday, I joined with other leaders, such as U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Mali Prime Minister Cissé Mariam Kaidama Sidibé in helping UNESCO launch the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education for improving literacy and the quality of education for girls and women.

  • Studies Find Feds, Companies Nationwide Share Similar Views of Telework

    Posted by Martin Isaaksen
    Federal UC Lead, Microsoft

    Telework is now the law of the land for federal employees, and based on the results of a recent survey, it appears that teleworkers nationwide share many of the same likes, dislikes and concerns about working remotely as their federal colleagues.

    President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 last December, after Congress wrestled with the bill for nearly two years (which may feel as long as some non-teleworkers’ daily commutes). Designed to help agencies define and implement effective telework policies, the new law set a June 9th deadline for agencies to establish policies regarding employee eligibility and authorization to telework. The rubber is about to hit the road for telework – with the goal that more federal employees eventually won’t.

    With this in mind, Microsoft earlier this month released a new Remote Working Study to better understand telework’s benefits and challenges, with the goal of improving the technology that enables remote workforces.

  • Microsoft Engages with Industry and Government Leaders at EWI Cybersecurity Summit

    Posted by Scott Charney
    Corporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    Cybersecurity and the overall health of the Internet has become a key concern for governments, enterprises and computer users.

    As more people, computers and devices come online (there are approximately 2 billion people using the Internet today), cyber threats have grown more sophisticated and cybercriminals have successfully gathered sensitive data, disrupted critical operations or engaged in other illegal activity such as fraud. Governments around the world have expressed concern that the critical information infrastructures that support their countries could be targeted. In response, many countries have sought to improve critical information infrastructure policy, to build effective information sharing and collaboration capabilities that address threats and vulnerabilities, and to coordinate on responses to increasingly complex cyber incidents. 

  • New Report Finds Teachers Unprepared to Teach Online Safety

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    A new study released by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and sponsored by Microsoft, shows that U.S. schools are ill-equipped to teach children the fundamentals of 21st Century “Digital Citizenship.” The 2011 version of the State of Cyberethics, Cybersafety and Cybersecurity Curriculum in the U.S. found that more than one-third (36 percent) of teachers received no relevant professional development training in the last year from their school districts. Meanwhile, 86 percent received fewer than six hours of training in online safety, computer security and cyber ethics.

    Not surprisingly, teachers do not feel adequately prepared to instruct on these topics. Less than one-quarter of respondents (24 percent) said they feel "very well-prepared" to teach about protecting personal information online.

  • Hiring America’s Heroes

    Posted by Pamela Passman
    Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (D-WA), is to be commended for introducing the Hiring Heroes Act (S. 951) this week. It is important legislation designed to help American veterans translate their skills into language U.S. employers can understand. Sen. Murray’s bill is leading the way by providing significant support to our veterans as they return to civilian life and easing the transition from the military to family wage jobs in the civilian economy.

  • Facebook to Use Microsoft’s PhotoDNA Technology to Combat Child Exploitation

    Editor’s note: The following is a guest post authored by Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    In late 2009, I wrote on this blog about PhotoDNA, an important technological step forward in preventing the spread of child sexual exploitation online.

    Microsoft donated PhotoDNA, a technology created by Microsoft Research in cooperation with Dartmouth College professor Hany Farid, to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, so that we could use the groundbreaking image-matching technology with online services companies to stop the online distribution of the worst known images of child rape (aka child pornography).

    Today, I’m proud to say that Facebook – a company that has revolutionized life online and, among other accomplishments, is one of the leading photo-sharing services in the world – will implement PhotoDNA on its network to further its commitment to keeping children from being victimized.

  • Every Click Should Count: Microsoft Discusses Online Ad Fraud at NYC Symposium

    Posted by Richard Boscovich
    Senior Attorney, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

    What if one out of every four cups of coffee you purchased turned out to be an empty cup? You’d quickly switch to another coffee shop and you’d have some very negative reviews of the coffee seller who shorted you. Now let’s say that just one out of every 10 cups of coffee from your new coffee seller is empty – better, but you’d still want a new barista because you’re entitled to the cup of coffee you paid for.

    Online ad clicks, unfortunately, are a lot like those empty coffee cups. A distressingly high percentage of the clicks that advertisers pay for are not made by human beings with genuine interest in that ad. Instead, they’re the result of automated Web traffic and other criminal activity that endangers the online marketplace for everyone who uses it - merchants, Web content providers and ultimately, consumers, who benefit from free, ad-supported online content.

    Microsoft takes this problem very seriously, which is why we are partnering with the U.S. Secret Service to host the Online Advertising Fraud Symposium today in New York.

  • Microsoft Showcases Customs Technology at Annual World Customs Organization IT Conference

    Posted by Frank McCosker
    Managing Director, Microsoft Global Strategic Accounts

    This week, I’m in Seattle attending the World Customs Organization’s annual IT Conference and Exhibition alongside more than 500 other delegates, helping Microsoft display the next generation of technology applications to help countries and companies realize the full benefits of international trade. This year’s conference theme is cloud computing, a technology we expect to revolutionize trade and customs operations.

    This is a particularly timely theme, with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and representatives from the governments of Botswana and Namibia announcing at the event the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Regional Single Window (RSW). To be built on Microsoft technology, this will be the first cloud computing-based trade application to link, for the first time, customs processes between the governments of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

  • Unleashing Creativity To Improve Early Childhood Learning

    Posted by Sig Behrens
    General Manager, U.S. Education, Microsoft

    I witnessed something personally yesterday that was truly inspiring. It reminded me of how exciting a time it is for education reform here in the United States.

    We are facing massive education budgets cuts in most states and critical programs like pre-kindergarten and kindergarten are usually among the first to be cut. This affects at-risk kids the most and only perpetuates the cycle of these children not being adequately prepared for learning. And this cycle, should it continue, will continue to drive our graduation rates down which will only make matters worse for our nation in the years to come and we will continue to slide economically.

    That's why I want to commend the U.S. Department of Education on the announcement of the new Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, which I was privileged to attend in person with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.