Posted by Anne GavinDirector, U.S. State Government Affairs, Microsoft
Microsoft and the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) held a Technology Town Hall Forum featuring Virginia Senate Candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine at our Microsoft Technology Center in Reston, Va., on Thursday.
Co-sponsored by the Virginia Public Access Project, the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce and the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce, the town hall provided an opportunity for the candidates to lay out their views related to technology and business policy to more than 130 attendees.
Posted by Dan BrossSenior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft
One of the great things about working at Microsoft is having access to an incredible array of technologies that help us get work done. One of my favorite applications is the Local Impact Map, an online storytelling tool that we’re making available to commercial organizations who want a compelling way to share the impact of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs online.
Microsoft has Citizenship programs underway in more than one hundred countries around the world. One of the problems we face is this: how do we bring the scale, reach and impact of our programs to life? Well that’s exactly why we developed the Local Impact Map. It’s a beautiful, easy-to-use tool that provides the perfect platform for showcasing community programs.
Posted by Jacqueline BeauchereDirector, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft
We’ve all heard the horrific tales: teasing, meanness or bullying that starts on the playground or at school follows kids home only to continue on mobile and gaming devices and on social networks. Severe cases, though few in number, drive some to extremes, and it’s these instances that make headlines. No wonder kids around the world are worried they’ll be bullied online.
To better understand the issue globally, Microsoft commissioned and today releases survey results of a range of online behaviors among youth – from “meanness” (least severe) to online bullying or cruelty (most severe), and everything in between. Data show 54 percent of children age eight to 17 in 25 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Singapore, Turkey, UAE, the United Kingdom and the U.S.) express concern that they will be bullied online; four in 10 say someone was mean to them online, and nearly one-quarter (24 percent) admit to having bullied someone else online at one time or another.
Posted by Frank McCoskerGeneral Manager, Microsoft Global Strategic Accounts
Since 2004, I’ve been working closely with more than 40 international organizations, including UN organizations, regional development banks and bilateral aid agencies – cultivating long-term and rewarding public-private partnerships. At Microsoft, we have worked hard to prioritize these relationships to see how technology can help achieve shared sustainable development goals and achieve real impact amongst underserved communities.
This week I’m in Rio de Janeiro with several colleagues for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20. We believe technology has an important part to play in the discussions at the highest level at Rio+20, and that technology is a crucial component of supporting sustainable development.We’re also here presenting one of the most exciting and game changing technologies in recent memory: Super Wi-Fi. For several years now, Microsoft Research, in collaboration with industry and government partners, has been working on a technology that is commonly referred to as Super Wi-Fi. The technology uses unused, or inefficiently used, TV spectrum, and it does so without disrupting existing TV broadcasts, with far reaching applications for sustainable development. Super Wi-Fi has a few advantages over existing Wi-Fi technologies – it can cover between three and 10 times more distance and has the ability to transmit through walls and other barriers that normally stop Wi-Fi. This technology has the potential to help deliver on the goal many development experts and policy makers have of providing broadband access for all.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Mr. Alexander Aleinikoff, the Deputy High Commissioner for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Every year on June 20th, the United Nations, along with countries and communities worldwide, mark World Refugee Day to raise awareness and support for the world’s 34 million forcibly displaced and stateless people. In support, MSN is running a special ‘Causes’ campaign on the plight of refugees.
This year, World Refugee Day takes place during Rio+20, the major UN summit in Brazil that brings together world leaders from a wide range of international organizations, governments, NGOs and the private sector to further debate on reducing global poverty, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection and sustainable development. UNHCR, led by High Commissioner António Guterres, is in Rio to advocate for the rights and interests of the world’s refugees and other displaced persons in the summit’s deliberations and outcomes.
Posted by Rob BernardChief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft
Over the weekend, we participated in the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum, the main private sector convening forum at Rio+20. The forum kicked off on Friday with a video message and welcome from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he declared that “corporate sustainability is an idea whose time has come.”
We certainly agree with that statement, which is why Microsoft announced as part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy For All initiative that we are committing to increase our purchase of renewable energy and set specific energy efficiency targets by June 2013, when our fiscal year 2013 comes to an end. Microsoft’s new internal carbon fee will help accelerate our investments in renewable energy, which will include signing long-term renewable power purchase agreements, investing in new renewable energy projects and connecting data centers directly to innovative energy sources, such as methane-powered fuel cells for data centers and other energy-intensive infrastructure.
Posted by Karen JonesVice President & Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal, Microsoft
Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had reached the statutory cap for H-1B specialty occupation petitions for fiscal year 2013, giving us a stark reminder of the continuing obstacles created by our country’s current framework for high skilled immigration.
This comes at a time when the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the unemployment rate for computer and math occupations at just 3.5 percent – reflecting the growing shortage of U.S. workers with these skills. Reaching the annual allotment of H-1B visas only 10 weeks after the application filing period opened disrupts U.S. business and stifles growth at a critical time in our nation’s economic recovery by shutting down the hiring of global talent for the next 10 months.
Posted by Samantha DoerrPublic Affairs Manager, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
In order to effectively solve difficult societal problems, we must first understand them. With the belief that research can open the door to effective interventions in the fight against modern day slavery, in December the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit and Microsoft Research partnered to release a request for proposals from the academic community to better understand the intersection of technology and child sex trafficking.
Posted by Josh HenretigDirector, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20, will kick off this week from June 12 to June 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development from political and business leaders across the globe. More than 100 heads of state and over 60,000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, which would make it the largest ever UN conference. The two major themes at Rio+20 are creating a green economy that allows for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and creating an institutional framework for sustainable development.
Delegates at Rio+20 will be looking for solutions that can help poor to rich countries to be able to move to a low carbon economy and adapt to the changing environment. Technology has an important role to play in supporting the shift toward a more sustainable economy, from helping cities achieve better energy efficiency to using cloud computing to scale access to environmental data with the Eye on Earth network. We believe that IT is a critical tool to addressing energy and climate challenges and that close collaboration between IT companies and political leaders is an important aspect of addressing climate change.
Posted by Brendon LynchChief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen privacy for consumers, Microsoft recently announced that the next version of Internet Explorer (IE 10) will include the Do-Not-Track (DNT) feature turned “on” by default.
There has been a lot of public debate about tracking users’ activities on the Internet, including for the purposes of targeted advertising. Although there definitely are important benefits from targeted ads, many people are not comfortable receiving them. For example, results of a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show 68 percent of respondents were “Not OK” with targeted advertising because they don’t like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed.
Posted by David HowardCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Today’s FTC statement filed in the International Trade Commission adds to the growing chorus of regulators and other government officials around the world who agree that injunctions and exclusion orders based on standard essential patents jeopardize competition and the availability and price of consumer technology.
From China’s Ministry of Commerce, to the EU’s Directorate-General for Competition, to the U.S. Department of Justice, and now the FTC, the world’s regulators are speaking clearly and consistently: companies should not misuse standard essential patents.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Intellectual Asset Management Magazine recently published a feature story entitled “A revolution launched on the back of IP” which highlights the role intellectual property played in helping to bring Kinect for Xbox 360 to market. Reporter Jack Ellis spoke to members of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business and Intellectual Property Group to understand how the two groups partnered together early on in the development process to protect innovations. The article profiles some of the big moments in time for patents, copyright and trademark around Kinect for Xbox 360.
We invited Jack to join us for a brief question and answer session to talk a little about why he was interested in reporting on this story, how he thinks IP professionals should view the current IP landscape and what some of the big priorities for IP leaders are in the year ahead.
Posted by Jeff JonesDirector, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
Computing is now an essential part of our everyday lives. The Internet today reaches a global population of more than two billion people – providing a range of critical services to more citizens around the world than ever before. We are using a greater variety of devices and managing data in unique ways to communicate and share information with others and conduct business online. However, a range of players are focusing their energies on misusing and attacking an increasingly networked environment through a variety of complex cyber threats that raise new challenges for citizens on the Internet.
Commonly available cyber defenses such as firewalls, antivirus software and automatic updates for security patches help reduce the risk from threats, but they are not enough. Industry and governments have begun efforts to help protect consumers against online threats. This collective work to build safer computing experiences online is very important and should continue. We must try to prevent computer infections before they happen, before data can be lost and identities stolen. This effort requires a collaborative approach among key members across the IT ecosystem. We are better together.
Posted by Hernan RinconPresident, Microsoft Latin America
Governments all over the world are struggling with how to lower unemployment rates and improve the economy. In many countries, young people make up a significant portion of the unemployed, which not only impacts current economic recovery, but casts a shadow on the future. For example, according to “Opportunity for Action,” a report recently released by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), in Latin America, youth unemployment is nearly three times that of adults. These young people, aged 15 to 29, are the foundation for our future, and we must do all that we can to stabilize and fortify this foundation.
This week at Microsoft’s annual Government Leaders Forum Americas, the company is drawing attention to the growing challenge of unemployment for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Thursday’s keynote, delivered by my colleague Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, spoke to the issue and detailed Microsoft’s commitment to creating opportunities for youth in the region through various initiatives, programs and partnerships.
Posted by Laura IpsenCorporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft
Over the past week I have had the honor to represent Microsoft at two events on opposite sides of the globe, specifically focused on empowering women and girls, an issue that is critical for both countries and global companies like Microsoft.
On May 25, I participated in a panel discussion led by Irina Bokova, Director-General UNESCO, to mark the first anniversary of the launch of “Better Life, Better Future”, UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.