Posted by Mike Hintze
Associate General Counsel, Microsoft

Congress’ interest in privacy continued Wednesday at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. I appreciated the opportunity to share with the committee Microsoft’s perspectives on the important issue being discussed, “Understanding Consumer Attitudes About Privacy.”

As I told Chairman Bono Mack and the other members of the committee, the diverse products and services through which Microsoft engages with consumers gives us a unique perspective. Microsoft understands that consumer trust is critical, and the way we seek to build that trust online is to provide consumers with information about what data is being collected and how it is being used, choices about the collection and use of that data, and confidence that their data is secure.

During the hearing, I shared examples of how consumers have responded favorably to the range of information and tools Microsoft has provided to give them more control over their privacy. I highlighted a number of technology tools. For example, Microsoft was the first of the major browser manufacturers to provide a persistent, browser-based “Do-Not-Track” mechanism. Specifically, Internet Explorer 9 offers a feature, which we call Tracking Protection, that allows consumers to make informed privacy choices about what sites can receive their data. I also described Microsoft’s support for baseline rules of the road established by both industry self-regulation and legislation. My written testimony can be found here.

Addressing consumer privacy expectations requires the collaborative effort of individual companies, industry groups, consumer and privacy advocates, government and consumers themselves. It is incumbent for us to work together to meet privacy challenges while allowing for continued technological innovation.