November, 2012

  • Notice and Consent in a World of Big Data

    Posted by Peter Cullen
    Chief Privacy Strategist, Microsoft

    A privilege of working at Microsoft is being able to glimpse into the future of information technology and envision ways that society can reap the considerable benefits of Big Data— the collection, management and analysis of data on a massive scale. But this privilege also comes with responsibilities, including an obligation to help ensure strong information privacy protections. Getting this balance right is crucial not only for Microsoft and our peers, but also for policymakers, regulators, industry, educators, and, most importantly, individuals.

    About two months ago, I wrote about a series of discussions that we convened to advance a global conversation aimed at generating shared ideas and new thinking in support of alternative approaches to privacy protection. Today, I am happy to share a summary report of these discussions, written by Fred Cate, Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.

    Peter Cullen, General Manager, Trustworthy Computing Group, leads a discussion at the Microsoft Global Privacy Summit last September in Redmond, WA.

    [Read more...]

  • Statement on Hill Action on STEM Jobs Act of 2012

    Posted by Fred Humphries
    Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    All the signs are pointing toward a growing consensus – high-skilled immigration is critical to our nation’s economic recovery. Now is the time to act on high-skilled immigration reform to further drive this recovery. Through government data, academic research and the frontline experience of companies across the country in a range of industries, there is a clearly established shortage of American workers with the science, technology and math skills needed to fill the new high-skilled and high-paying jobs being created across the country.

    Today, Microsoft is encouraged by the bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives to pass HR 6429, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012.This bill will make up to 55,000 critically needed visas available to foreign national graduates of U.S. universities who have earned an advanced STEM degree. 

    While this is a positive step, further reform is needed to address our nation’s high-skilled immigration challenges.

    [Read more...]

  • Recap from Microsoft’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders

    Posted by John Seethoff
    Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

    I want to thank Microsoft’s shareholders who attended or voted at this year’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders.  At yesterday’s annual meeting, nearly 86 percent of outstanding shares were voted. For the first time, shareholders who were unable to attend the meeting in person were able to vote online via a virtual shareholder meeting. Shareholders acted on five items of business, including one shareholder proposal.

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  • Advocates Join Together to Help Make the Internet Safer for All

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Stephen Balkam, chief executive officer of the Family Online Safety Institute.

    “A Safer Internet for All,” the Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) sixth annual conference, brought together 450+ policy makers, industry leaders, educators, legislators, researchers and Internet safety advocates to discuss collaborative ways to harness the power of the Internet to do good online. Microsoft, a member of FOSI, supports the annual conference as a way to bring better awareness to the shared responsibility of staying safer online.

    The two-day conference began with a very concrete reiteration of the need for science-based research on technology and its effects; the conference ignited around new research (commissioned by FOSI and conducted by Hart Research Associates) around perceptions of the “online generation gap” between parents and teens. Visit the executive summary for insights and key findings.

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  • Privacy and a New Era of Personal Computing: A View from Brussels

    Posted by Brendon Lynch
    Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft

    I spent last week in Brussels with privacy regulators and practitioners from around the world, many of whom were there for the IAPP European Data Protection Congress. It’s an important time for privacy globally, and I want to share a few of my insights from the week (including my keynote address to the conference and a separate event we hosted on transatlantic privacy) and how they apply to what we’re doing to advance privacy at Microsoft.

    We kicked off the week with our most recent @Microsoft Conversations on privacy. Our EMEA Director of Privacy Policy, Jean Gonié, moderated a panel discussion on developments in transatlantic data protection. The panelists included Marielle Gallo, Member of European Parliament, Rapporteur of JURI Committee on Data Protection Regulation; David Vladeck, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission; and Jerôme Déroulez, Justice Counselor, French Permanent Representation to the European Union.

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  • Microsoft Offers Virtual Meeting to Increase Shareholder Participation at Annual Meeting

    Posted by John Seethoff, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel & Bill Koefoed, General Manager of Investor Relations

    As a technology leader, Microsoft is committed to supporting and adopting new technology applications that enhance the company’s operations, provide value to its shareholders, and promote forward-thinking corporate governance practices.

    This year, in conjunction with our upcoming Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held in Bellevue, Wash. on Nov. 28, Microsoft will host a Virtual Shareholder Meeting so that shareholders of record can vote and ask questions online during the meeting in real time. We value input from all our shareholders and feel it is important to offer those who cannot attend the annual meeting in person an opportunity to participate.

    [Read more...]

  • High-growth, High-impact: Innovation & Job Creation in Washington State

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Thursday, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Legal &Corporate Affairs Brad Smith opened the Washington Innovation Summit, an annual day-long conference, which focuses on the key mechanisms that make innovative economies grow. Put on by the Technology Alliance and attended by local technology business leaders, education, economic and government luminaries, Brad gave a keynote addressing the challenges facing Washington in becoming a state that fosters innovation, creates high-impact jobs and the need to make investments in the state’s intellectual infrastructure.

    Brad laid out a framework for how to advance the technology-based economic development in Washington, a sector that drives significant growth and economic prosperity, but has the opportunity to do much more.

    [Read more...]

  • STEM Education and the Race to the Future

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Microsoft’s Innovation and Policy Center hosted a widely attended panel focused on STEM Education and the Race to the Future on Thursday in our Washington, D.C office.

    The “@Microsoft Conversation” featured National Governors Association Education Division Director Richard Laines, IBM Vice President for Governmental Programs Christopher Padilla, Computer Science Teachers Association Executive Director Chris Stephenson and Microsoft Education Policy and Program Director Allyson Knox. 

    CSTA’s Chris Stephenson, NGA’s Richard Laines, and Microsoft’s Allyson Knox participated in the panel regarding the need for STEM education.

    [Read more...]

  • Taking Action Against Bullying: The Power of Standing Up Together

    Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Ben Cohen, MBE, Founder and Chairman, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation.

    As a professional athlete and rugby World Cup champion, I thought I knew what my future would hold. My Uncle George had also been on a World Cup team, winning the football (soccer) honor for England in 1966. Sports would continue to define me, as it always had. So I thought.

    Then, in early 2011, just after being honored as Player of the Year, I hung up my boots and retired for a cause, founding the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. A lot of people around me thought I had lost my mind. Why this cause? Why now?

    [Read more...]

  • Brad Smith Featured on Huffington Post: Celebrating Microsoft’s Employee Giving Campaign

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Wednesday, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs and General Counsel Brad Smith was a featured blogger over on The Huffington Post.

    In a post entitled “One Billion Reasons to Celebrate This Time of Year”, Brad wrote about Microsoft’s Employee Giving Campaign, which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently announced had reached $1 billion in cash donations since the program’s inception in 1983.

    You can read Brad’s entire blog post over on The Huffington Post.

    [Read more...]

  • Microsoft: Washington State Lawmakers Should Pass Transportation Funding Plan

    Posted by DeLee Shoemaker
    Senior Director of State Government Affairs, Microsoft

    For a company whose products allow people to communicate and collaborate over long distances, Microsoft still spends a lot of time thinking about transportation.

    As a major employer, we pay attention to the impact our operations have on public infrastructure like roads and bridges. We offer a comprehensive program to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips our employees make to campus: Supporting carpools and vanpools, providing transit passes to employees and contractors, operating a fleet of hybrid shuttles between our facilities, and operating The Connector private transit service to our campus where existing public transportation is insufficient or inconvenient. 

    [Read more...]

  • Keeping Washington State Competitive in the Global Economy

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

    November marks the end of a very long election season. It also marks the start of a new beginning. After all the campaigning and the political ads, November provides all of us a time to come together and prepare for the fast-approaching new year.

    For example, here in Washington State, a new year gives us a new opportunity to forge new working relationships across the aisle and to coalesce around a shared vision for our state. At a recent meeting of the Washington Council on International Trade, I outlined one possibility for that shared vision with some thoughts on how we might keep Washington competitive in the global economy.

    Like most places throughout the country, our state faces a number of significant challenges. But Washington also has some unique strengths. One big opportunity comes from the fact that Seattle is the largest city and port in the continental United States that is closest to Asia. This will not change, and there are a number of different ways that our state should be thinking about how we might build upon this.

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  • The View from Washington State: Looking Back at the 2012 Election, Looking Ahead to the 2013 Legislative Session

    Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly series from Microsoft called “The View from Washington State”. The View from Washington State provides insight and commentary on topics and trends of importance to technology, education, corporate citizenship and public policy in Washington State.

    Posted by DeLee Shoemaker
    Senior Director of State Government Affairs, Microsoft

    With more than 90 percent of the ballots now counted, the ads have stopped, the signs have been put away, and most of the dust has settled on Washington’s 2012 elections.

    Democrats dominated the statewide races, with President Obama easily carrying Washington; Jay Inslee narrowly defeating Rob McKenna for Governor; incumbent Maria Cantwell winning re-election; Susan DelBene, Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck taking the three open Congressional seats; and Democratic candidates winning every other statewide race except Secretary of State.

    [Read more...]

  • Calling All Teens: Take Microsoft’s Safer Online Teen Challenge

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

    In a bid to uncover what teens know or have been learning about staying safer online, Microsoft recently launched its first-ever Safer Online Teen Challenge. We’re eager to see how teens interpret the wealth of advice and guidance being developed by Microsoft and others in the technology industry, as well as governments, non-profits and youth advocacy organizations. 

    Teens between the ages of 13 and 18* are encouraged to create and submit original works that champion one of many key messages about being smarter and more secure on the Internet.  Creations must be submitted by April 12, 2013, and Microsoft’s hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans will vote to select winners in five inspired categories: song, story/cartoon, skit/presentation, survey and video. All submissions require English translations, but works are welcome in any language and from essentially every corner of the world.

    [Read more...]

  • Pulse on Citizenship: CSR Grows Up With a New Generation

    Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly series from Microsoft’s Citizenship team that appears on the second Wednesday of every month. Pulse on Citizenship provides insight and commentary on topics and trends in corporate citizenship.

    Posted by Steve Lippman
    Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft

    You feel old when you realize that your career and the field you work in both started around the same time, at least when your field isn’t some brand-new offshoot of cyber-crypto-nano-technology. (I don’t know if that exists or not, but it certainly sounds cutting edge.)

    That’s my case. I joined the staff of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) whose mission is to work with business to create a just and sustainable world. It was shortly after the organization was founded, and the field of corporate social responsibility was beginning to emerge as a discipline distinct from business ethics, environment, health, safety and community affairs.

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  • Microsoft Announces exFAT Licensing Agreements

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it signed patent licensing agreements for the use of the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) with five companies, spanning industries including high-end camcorders, digital cameras and Android tablets.

    The agreements cover Sharp Android tablets, Sigma and NextoDi high-end cameras and accessories, and Black Magic and Atomos Global broadcast-quality video-recording devices.

    [Read more...]

  • Next Steps for Washington’s International Competitiveness

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Yesterday, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith was the featured keynote speaker at the Washington Council on International Trade Conference (WCIT) luncheon in Seattle. The conference, which was attended by more than 300 of the state’s business, government and community leaders, provided a forum to learn and discuss issues surrounding international trade policy. Through the lens of the technology industry, Brad gave his perspective on the steps needed to increase Washington’s international trade competitiveness.

    [Read more...]