May, 2012

  • Advancing Consumer Trust and Privacy: Internet Explorer in Windows 8

    Posted by Brendon Lynch
    Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft

    Today, Microsoft announced Windows 8 has reached Release Preview and Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 will have “Do Not Track” (DNT) on by default. This post includes additional thoughts about this important milestone in our effort to advance trust and consumer privacy online. Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 will be the first browser to have DNT on by default. Consumers can change this setting, but the default will be to send the DNT signal to websites that consumers visit.

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  • Microsoft Joins White House, Private Sector Partners in New Effort to Combat Botnets

    Posted by Eric Wenger
    Policy Counsel for U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    Every day criminals exploit innocent, unsuspecting people by secretly overtaking their computers to carry out crimes. Networks of bad actors have assembled an efficient, resilient infrastructure of computing power called botnets to enable Internet-based organized crimes ranging from the distribution of malware to phishing solicitations and online theft. In order to address the criminal threat posed by botnets, the public and private sectors are announcing new, collaborative efforts to keep consumers safe online.

    Today, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith joined U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Pat Gallagher and industry leaders at the White House to unveil new efforts to combat botnets. The Industry Botnet Group, a coalition of private sector partners, released their guiding principles at the event as part of the fight against botnets. Below is video from the event. You can watch Brad Smith's comments starting at about the 35:15 mark.

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  • Consumer Product and Service Agreement Updates

    Posted by Tim Fielden
    Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft

    Microsoft, like other businesses, relies on user agreements that we ask consumers to read and accept before using our products and services. We revise and update these agreements over time. This post discusses a change we have begun making as we update user agreements across our consumer products and services.

    Microsoft is updating user agreements across its consumer products and services.

    When a customer in the United States has a dispute about a Microsoft product or service, many of our new user agreements will require that, if we can’t informally resolve the dispute, the customer bring the claim in small claims court or arbitration, but not as part of a class action lawsuit. Many companies have adopted this approach, which the U.S. Supreme Court permitted in a case it decided in 2011. We made this change to our terms of use for Xbox LIVE several months ago, and we will implement similar changes in user agreements for other products and services in the coming months as we roll out major licensing, hardware or software releases and updates.

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  • Exploring the Role of Corporate Political Donations

    Posted by Dan Bross
    Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft

    Much attention during this election cycle has been focused on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. The impact of Citizens United and a range of other issues – including the role of corporations in our political process here in the U.S., was the focus of a conference I spoke at last week in Washington, D.C. sponsored by The Conference Board.

    As with most things related to the upcoming 2012 elections, there was spirited debate and discussion on a range of topics related to corporate governance, accountability, transparency and disclosure. Surprisingly, these topics too are being cast by some as right/left issues. Good corporate governance isn’t a left wing plot or a right wing gambit, it’s just smart economic and civic policy.

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  • Keeping Top Talent for Our Economy

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

    This has been an important week for immigration reform efforts in Congress. Reflecting the rising recognition that our country wins when we invite the world's best minds into the American community, two important new bills were introduced in the Senate. These bills would put into action the words that have become a growing chorus in the immigration policy debate: It makes no sense to educate top students from around the globe in our universities, only to send them – and their brainpower and U.S. training – off to compete with us from abroad.

    This week, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century, or "STAR" Act. This bill would reallocate 55,000 immigrant visas per year to those who have earned a master's degree or a Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (the STEM fields) from a U.S. university. Also this week, we saw the bipartisan introduction of the Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology (SMART) Jobs Act of 2012, by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.)

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  • Accountability in Privacy – a Canadian Perspective

    Editor’s Note: Microsoft has been a proponent of accountability, a globally recognized principle of privacy and data protection, and prioritizes the concept in our privacy program. We recently published an accountability-based analysis of Microsoft’s privacy program and shared our position that organizations need clear guidance on how to demonstrate accountability, and that regulators need consistent means of measuring accountability. We’ve asked Elizabeth Denham, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, to share her thoughts on accountability timed to the recent release of accountability policy guidance in Canada.

    Three of Canada’s Privacy Commissioners collaborated to publish policy guidance to help businesses effectively manage their obligations under privacy legislation.

    Getting Accountability Right with a Privacy Management Program is getting noticed by businesses, regulators and organizations in Canada and internationally. Here is what you need to know about the paper, including why implementing a comprehensive privacy management program for your business is smart practice.

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  • Teacher Appreciation Day Highlights Critical Role Educators Play in Students’ Lives

    Posted by Andrew Ko
    General Manager, Microsoft Partners in Learning

    For many of us, there has been at least one special person who has had a significant impact on our lives, and has inspired us to reach where we are today. It may be a parent, relative or a friend, but for many, it’s a teacher. Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.

    David Squires, a teacher at Oak Valley Middle School in Commerce Township, Mich., works with student Taylor Henderson on a school project designed to help end unemployment.
    David Squires, a teacher at Oak Valley Middle School in Commerce Township, Mich., works with student Taylor Henderson on a school project designed to help end unemployment.

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  • Microsoft and Aspen Avionics Ink exFAT Licensing Agreement

    Posted by Simmone Misra
    Senior Licensing Executive, Microsoft

    This morning, we announced a licensing agreement with Aspen Avionics, a manufacturer of general aviation cockpit display systems. What’s noteworthy about the announcement is that it is the first agreement forged by Microsoft in the avionics industry, and is also the first agreement we have announced in the commercial sector, thus demonstrating that exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) is great for commercial and consumer applications alike.

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  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Visits Microsoft

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) paid a visit to Redmond today to tour the Microsoft Home of the Future. In the photo below, Cantor (at left) looks on as Microsoft researcher Hrvoje Benko demonstrates cutting-edge wearable multi-touch projection technology that will allow a user to operate a smartphone by touching a projection of the device’s screen on any flat surface.

    "The ongoing innovation demonstrated by Microsoft is impressive,” Cantor said. “Its efforts to leverage innovation will help improve everyday life for all Americans."

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  • Microsoft Technology to Help Law Enforcement Fight High-Tech Crimes

    Posted by Bill Harmon
    Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

    Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has provided $2.3 million in technology to the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to further the center’s efforts to equip law enforcement with the skills and resources needed to combat economic and high-tech crimes.

    Microsoft has partnered with NW3C over the past few years to develop training and tools to support law enforcement’s mission to fight cybercrime, including the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) tool made available at no cost to law enforcement in 2009 for capturing live evidence on the scene of a cybercrime investigation.

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  • Microsoft Announces $50,000 Grant to Road Map Project for Youth

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Today, Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs Brad Smith met with South Seattle and South King County school leaders at the Community Center for Education Results (CCER) and announced a $50,000 grant demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to building a strong, cradle-to-career educational system for the Puget Sound region and the entire state of Washington.

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