September, 2013

  • Microsoft teams with university researchers to improve TV white spaces wireless technology

    Posted by Ranveer Chandra
    Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research

    On Sunday, Microsoft Research published a new paper in partnership with The Chinese University of Hong Kong proposing a new system for improving indoor use of wireless technologies in cities.

    Radio frequency spectrum, the airwaves over which wireless devices communicate, is in increasing demand throughout the world. Access to spectrum is currently regulated by strict licensing systems that limit the users and the applications of any given set of frequencies. The unfortunate result is that a significant amount of spectrum goes unused at any given time or place.

    Based on measurements taken from more than 30 diverse locations in a typical city, our study found that more than 50 to 70 percent of spectrum in the TV band alone goes unused. These vacant frequencies are called TV white spaces, or just white spaces.

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  • Microsoft hosts D.C. panel of experts on modernizing the teaching profession

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Wednesday, leading policy makers, educators and industry leaders gathered to address approaches to modernize and elevate the teaching profession to meet the demands of a globally competitive world at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

    Panelists discussed how critical it is for every U.S. student to have an outstanding teacher, agreed that there needs to be a culture shift in order to elevate the teaching profession and provided examples of great teaching and teaching programs.

    Programs such as Microsoft’s TEALS and Partners in Learning initiatives, the CityBridge-NewSchools Education Innovation Fellowship, TLINC, UMUC’s teacher certification programs and were discussed. Following the discussion, there was a robust Q&A session with the audience focused on issues related to teacher recruitment and retention, teacher preparation programs and technology use in classrooms.

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  • Microsoft announces industry coalition on European patent system

    Posted by Horacio Gutierrez
    Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    We are pleased to announce Microsoft’s participation in a cross-industry coalition dedicated to the creation of an effective European unitary patent system. It’s truly a unique coalition: 14 global innovators and users of the European patent system, who are in many cases fierce competitors, plus two associations representing another 25 innovative companies in the technology sector, have been working collaboratively for several months to suggest solutions that support the creation of an effective, balanced and harmonized Europe-wide patent system. Today, the coalition released a letter from European policy makers on recommendations to those solutions.

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  • US Attorneys General vow to protect kids

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Chief Online Safety Officer, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    At the kickoff event for his year-long presidential initiative, “America’s Promise – Keeping Our Kids Safe,” the new leader of the U.S. National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) promised to help protect American youth in all aspects of their lives, including life online.

    “We need to focus on prevention,” NAAG president and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told an audience of about 120, including AGs, members of their staffs and others in Milwaukee last week. “We need to educate our kids; we need them to build positive relationships with law enforcement, and we need to take people off the streets (who would do children harm).”

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  • Celebrating the America Invents Act and American innovation

    Posted by David Jones
    Assistant General Counsel, IP Policy, Microsoft

    Sept. 16 marks the second anniversary of the America Invents Act (AIA), the first significant modernization of U.S. patent law in a half-century.  

    The AIA contained important reforms aimed at improving patent quality and confidence in the patent system and ensuring that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has the tools and resources it needs to fulfill its vital role in spurring American innovation. Microsoft was pleased to support it. 

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  • New Microsoft Computing Safety Index report: US consumers need to focus on basic online safety

    Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Chief Online Safety Officer, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    From antimalware solutions and automatic updates, to firewalls and strong passwords, Microsoft and the technology industry routinely stress that consumers should exercise basic “digital hygiene.” To some, these pieces of advice come as second nature. Most U.S. consumers, however, appear to ignore key technology tools that could help them stave off issues.

    New Microsoft research shows the majority of U.S. consumers are not leveraging some basic technology tools that could help them better manage their online transactions and protect their personal data. The third annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), a gauge to help assess consumer online habits and behaviors, shows that only 40 percent of U.S. respondents, on average, say they’ve turned on their computer’s firewall and left it on. This is down seven and 10 percentage points, respectively, from the 2012 and 2011 Indices. Data tell a similar story when consumers self-report about installing antimalware software, and turning on and running automatic updates.


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  • Microsoft partners with the University of Washington to create the Tech Policy Lab

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

    One of the exciting aspects of life in the tech sector is the pace of innovation and speed of change.  But the rapid changes can present challenges for policymakers. What, for example, are the policy implications of “big data” and a cloud that transfers data across national and international borders? What are the privacy implications of powerful wearable computers that record audio and video? The University of Washington’s new Tech Policy Lab is a unique interdisciplinary lab designed to help examine these and other questions.  Truly understanding these issues, and shaping effective ideas and policies, requires experts in range of diverse disciplines to work together, and the UW’s pioneering approach does just that. 

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  • Technology: The complex, critical frontier in the fight against child sex trafficking

    Posted by Samantha Doerr
    Director, Public Affairs & Child Protection, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

    On Monday, I had the privilege of participating in an @Microsoft Conversation at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus with leading academics and experts working to better understand – in scientifically measurable ways – the role that technology plays in the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking.

    The discussion centered not only on the role that technology might play in facilitating these crimes, but also the role that technology might be able to help fight them. Perhaps most importantly, the discussion highlighted the remarkable lack of socio-technological academic research in an area where such research is so desperately needed to inform technology and public policy decisions being made every day on these issues, and the urgent need for further cooperation to fill that gap.

    Dr. Mark Latonero, Professor Mary G. Leary, Dr. Anna Shavers, Dr. Susan McIntyre, Dr. Nicole Bryan and Dr. Sasha Poucki participate in an @Microsoft Conversation at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus on Monday to discuss the role that technology plays in the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking.

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  • Microsoft amends petition to US Foreign Intelligence Service Court

    Posted by John Frank
    Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft

    On Monday, we amended our petition to the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). This is an amendment to the motion we filed on June 19.

    Since then, working with others in the industry, we’ve been pursuing a variety of options to provide additional transparency about any legal demands we may receive pursuant to U.S. national security authorities. In the context of our FISC litigation, we have spent the last several weeks trying to reach an agreement with the government in an effort to accomplish our ultimate goal more quickly, but, as we highlighted recently, those discussions ended in failure.

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