Microsoft on the Issues

  • Microsoft and Politico present Fourth Annual State Solutions Conference in Washington, D.C.

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Feb. 21, four governors and approximately 150 policy thought-leaders joined us at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center for the fourth annual State Solutions Conference with Politico, previewing the National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

    The two-part event featured one-on-one conversations with governors from across the country and senior Politico reporters on the innovative approaches that states have taken to address complex problems.

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  • Microsoft voices support for FCC’s net neutrality announcement

    Posted by David Tennenhouse
    Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Technology Policy

    The Internet is critical to our economy and our future. Today, it enables anyone, anywhere, to connect, access content and share ideas. These attributes have been at the center of the Internet’s ability to catalyze innovation in numerous industries, create new employment opportunities and positive economic growth.

    For this to carry on, consumers must continue to have access to any legal content and services they choose, and their traffic should not be subject to unreasonable discrimination by their broadband provider. 

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  • Microsoft Translator expanded, Language Toolbox launched in celebration of Mother Language Day

     Posted by Carla Hurd
    Microsoft Local Language Program

    On Friday, Microsoft announced the expansion of Microsoft Translator with the addition of Welsh and the launch of Language Toolbox, both in celebration of UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day.

    Language Toolbox is a collection of free tools and resources related to Microsoft language technologies. Also on Friday, Microsoft recognized the important role American Sign Language (ASL) plays in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

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  • Leading the way on patent transparency

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

    On Thursday, the Administration issued a call to America’s innovation community to help strengthen the patent system by providing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the information, tools and resources it needs to perform its vital function.

    Microsoft applauds and supports these efforts. The U.S. patent system is the engine for our economy, incentivizing the creation of new technologies that are essential to America’s ability to compete in markets around the world. All stakeholders, including those of us in the private sector, have a key role to play in keeping this system healthy.

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  • Microsoft and global law enforcement leaders team up to fight cybercrime

    Posted by David Finn
    Executive Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Cybercrime Center

     Last week, Microsoft hosted our first Cybercrime Enforcement Summit. More than 60 global law enforcement leaders and cybercrime experts met in Redmond for two days of closed-door sessions, discussing best practices and concrete steps to protect people online.

    As I reflect upon the event, I think there are three key takeaways that will guide the efforts of all of those that attended:

    1. Actions speak louder than words

    We are entering a new era of collaboration where there is a shared recognition that only through strong partnerships can we not only keep pace with cybercriminals, but get ahead of them.

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  • Microsoft and Voxx Electronics sign licensing agreement for rear seat entertainment devices

    Posted by Simmone Misra
    Director, Corp. IP Licensing, Microsoft

    On Thursday, Microsoft announced a worldwide patent licensing agreement with Voxx Electronics, a leading provider of mobile and consumer devices. The agreement provides broad coverage for devices running the Android OS, including rear seat devices and tablets. This represents Microsoft’s first Android licensing deal in the automotive sector.

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  • Microsoft focuses on employing and training our nation’s veterans

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    How can the private sector best help our nation’s veterans successfully transition from the military to civilian employment? On Tuesday, leading experts and veterans gathered at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to focus on answering these questions and to explore best practices. The engaging and interactive discussion examined how government and industry can work together to help our returning soldiers transition to civilian careers.

    House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) delivered opening remarks and provided an overview of the challenges facing veterans as they enter the workforce and the importance of bipartisan collaboration with industry to help our nation’s heroes find post-military employment.

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  • Reflections on the 1-year anniversary of critical infrastructure cybersecurity initiatives

     Posted by Scott Charney
    Corporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft

    Last February, both the United States and the European Union announced major cybersecurity policy initiatives. In the U.S., the Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity put forward an industry-driven approach to developing a Cybersecurity Framework, and emphasized the role of incentives to encourage use of the Framework. In the EU, the European Commission proposed a draft Network and Information and Security (NIS) Directive that suggested a broader scope and a more regulatory approach than that in the Executive Order, including the mandatory disclosure of cybersecurity incidents. One year later, I wanted to offer observations about these initiatives, as both have advanced on their respective tracks.

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  • Continuing our support for government surveillance reform

     Posted by Frederick S. Humphries Jr.
    Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    People from around the world are increasingly coming together to call for increased reform of government surveillance, and Microsoft sees Tuesday’s effort as a broad demonstration of that growing momentum. At Microsoft, we believe further reform is essential for our customers, our company and society at large – not only to help ensure the right balance between privacy and security, but to demonstrate our understanding that without liberty, we do not have security. 

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  • Microsoft asks people to “Do 1 Thing” to stay safer online for Safer Internet Day

     Posted by Jacqueline Beauchere
    Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft

    To mark Safer Internet Day (SID) 2014, Microsoft asks people to “Do 1 Thing” to stay safer online and to make that one thing part of their daily digital routines.

    As part of this campaign, on Monday we’re launching a new interactive website Safer Online, where individuals can share their “Do1Thing” promise; learn what others are doing to help protect themselves online, and get instant tips to enhance and better protect their digital lifestyles.

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  • U.S. Safer Internet Day Celebration stresses positive uses of technology

    Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Larry Magid, Co-director of ConnectSafely.org.

    Safer Internet Day (SID) has been celebrated in Europe and around the world since 2004. While Microsoft and other companies and organizations have sponsored Safer Internet Day programs in the U.S. over the years, there has yet to be an officially sanctioned U.S. event supported by a wide coalition of companies, non-profit organizations and government entities, until now.

    This year ConnectSafely.org was appointed as the first U.S. Node, an ambassador organization, if you will, for Safer Internet Day. On Feb. 11, it will host the official U.S. Safer Internet Day 2014 event in Washington, D.C.

    The event will be a celebration of the positive ways in which we all use the Internet. Young people, educators, representatives from technology companies, youth-serving organizations and government officials, including U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-N.Y.), will speak along with a panel discussion featuring students from around the country and another panel with leaders from Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Xbox Live and YouTube. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes will participate via video. In addition, the event will be streamed live on Facebook Live and at SaferInternetDay.us

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  • Providing additional transparency on US government requests for customer data

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

    Today we are updating our transparency reporting to provide new information relating to governmental demands for customer data.  Beginning last summer, Microsoft, Google, and other companies filed lawsuits against the U.S. government arguing that we have a legal and constitutional right to disclose more detailed information about these demands.  We contended that we should be able to disclose information about legal orders issued pursuant to U.S. national security laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which we had previously been barred from disclosing.

    As a result of that litigation and after lengthy discussions, the Government recently agreed for the first time to permit technology companies to publish data about FISA orders. While there remain some constraints on what we can publish (more details on that below), we are now able to present a comprehensive picture of the types of requests that we receive from the U.S. Government pursuant to national security authorities.

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  • Microsoft announces Brussels Transparency Center at Munich Security Conference

    Posted by Matt Thomlinson
    Vice President, Microsoft Security

    On Friday, I participated in a panel entitled “Rebooting Trust? Freedom vs. Security in Cyberspace” at the 50th Munich Security Conference. During my presentation, I discussed Microsoft’s initiatives to protect customer data from government snooping, which Microsoft General Counsel & Executive Vice President Brad Smith recently announced. Brad outlined three areas where Microsoft would be taking action: expanding encryption across our services; reinforcing legal protections for our customers’ data; and enhancing the transparency of our software code. On Friday, we announced another step we are taking in implementing those commitments.

    We will open an international Transparency Center in Brussels, which will offer government customers an increased ability to review our source code. The Brussels center will build upon on our long-standing program that provides government customers with the ability to review our source code, reassure themselves of its integrity and confirm there are no back doors. It is my hope to open the Brussels Transparency Center by the end of this year.

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  • Hiring America’s Heroes: Microsoft testifies on helping veterans transition to civilian careers

    Posted by Bill Kamela
    Policy Counsel, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    On Tuesday, Microsoft will present testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives committee highlighting best practices in hiring and retaining veterans in private sector jobs.

    Sean Kelley, senior staffing director, Cloud and Enterprise Group & Military Recruiting at Microsoft, will join representatives from Walmart, JP Morgan Chase & Co., the International Franchise Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation at the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing entitled “What can the Federal Government Learn from the Private Sector’s Successful Approach to Hiring Veterans?”

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  • Marking Data Privacy Day with dialogue and new data

     Posted by Brendon Lynch
    Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft

    We at Microsoft focus on privacy protections for our customers every day of the year. On Jan. 28, we join others across private and public sectors around the world to mark Data Privacy Day (DPD) – which is also known as Data Protection Day in Europe where it began in 2006. In support of the day’s focus on educating and empowering people, I’ll be participating in a DPD panel discussion hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 28, and will share the results of a new Microsoft commissioned survey that measured online privacy perceptions among technology savvy individuals in the U.S. and four European countries (Belgium, France, Germany and the UK).

    Our panel discussion will focus on “Notice and Consent: Innovating a New Path Forward,” where we’ll explore the complex opportunities and challenges that businesses, civil society and government must overcome to adapt traditional privacy models for the era of big data and the Internet of Things.

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  • Time for an international convention on government access to data

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

    Last week, President Obama spoke about the role of the National Security Agency and announced some important changes to the surveillance practices of the U.S. government. We appreciate the steps the President announced, which represent positive progress on key issues including privacy protections for non-U.S. citizens. There is more work to do to define some of the details and additional steps that are needed, so we’ll continue to work with both the administration and Congress to advocate for reforms consistent with the principles our industry outlined in December.

    This week, the World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland where these same issues of data privacy and reform of government surveillance will be on the agenda. We hope that these discussions will spur a focus on the international steps that governments can take together. While there is no substitute for American leadership and action on these issues, the time has come for a broader international discussion. We need an international legal framework – an international convention – to create surveillance and data-access rules across borders.

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  • New report outlines cybersecurity challenges in developing countries

    Posted by Paul Nicholas
    Senior Director, Global Security Strategy & Diplomacy, Microsoft

    On Thursday, Microsoft released a new study entitled The Cybersecurity Risk Paradox. The new report focuses on specific ways that social and economic factors affect cybersecurity outcomes worldwide. It is a follow-up study that builds on the earlier learnings of a study released last year entitled Linking Cybersecurity Outcomes and Policies.

    In Linking Cybersecurity Outcomes and Policies, we took malware infection data from our Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and compared it to international socioeconomic statistics in three categories – digital access, institutional stability and regime stability. We were then able to identify the key social, economic and technological factors critical to enhancing cybersecurity.

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  • Microsoft hosts conversation addressing myths and realities of unlicensed TV white spaces

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Dec. 17, Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. assembled panelists from the New America Foundation, Texas Instruments, the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation and Lerman Senter PLLC law firm to offer insight into the current state of affairs in the field of unlicensed spectrum use.

    Panelists participated in a wide ranging conversation, which included topics such as the potential uses of spectrum white spaces, the state of standards work, the policy issues pending before the FCC and the potential economic value of unlicensed use in the TV band. The experts sorted through the myths and promises of TV white spaces in order to discover what it will take to make robust unlicensed TV band use a reality.

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  • University of Colorado Health adopts Microsoft Office 365 for its data privacy and security commitment

    Posted by Dr. Dennis Schmuland
    Chief Health Strategy Officer, U.S. Health & Life Sciences, Microsoft

    On Wednesday, University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), one of the state’s largest healthcare providers, announced its migration to Microsoft Office 365, a decision that was made in large part due to Microsoft’s long-standing commitment to data security and privacy and because the company supports HIPAA requirements beyond what other vendors provide.

    Such cloud adoption within the healthcare industry is gaining momentum because the economic, clinician productivity and care team collaboration advantages of the cloud are undeniable. However, as was the case for UCHealth, there’s one fundamental concern that continues to weigh heavily on the minds of providers: Is patient data safe, secure and private in the cloud.

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  • Making important progress on computer science education

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

    This week, we have seen tremendous enthusiasm and excitement from more than 13 million students who are learning a new language. The language? Computer Science.

    Across the country and around the world, students have been celebrating Computer Science Education Week by participating in Hour of Code events. In partnership with Code.org, Microsoft has been hosting Hour of Code programs at our retail stores and with our YouthSpark partners, witnessing the delight of students who are experiencing coding for the first time. This week, I had the opportunity to see this excitement firsthand when I met with students and teachers at Fairwood Elementary School in Renton, Wash. to present $10,000 in Code.org funding for tablets that will help students strengthen their computer science skills.

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  • Raising the Bar: Exploring the diversity gap within the legal profession

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

    By 2042, the U.S. population is projected to be “majority minority," and no one race or ethnicity will any longer be the majority in America. While America increasingly reflects the extraordinarily diverse people and cultures from around the world, the legal profession does not.

    Unless the legal profession makes faster progress, it will miss the dynamism and creativity that diversity brings to other fields. We risk failure in having a profession that is as diverse as the country we serve – a prerequisite for healthy legal service for a democracy.

    Many lawyers are aware we have not kept pace with the nation. What is troubling is the lack of clarity about why this is happening. And until we know why, we are just guessing at the best ways to help build a more diverse legal profession.

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  • Microsoft, The Atlantic & National Journal Present “A New America: How Millennials are Sparking Change” town hall

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    On Dec. 6, Microsoft, in partnership with The Atlantic and National Journal, hosted the first in a series of traveling town halls to explore the opportunities, inclinations and impact of the millennial generation as it faces an increasingly connected world and competitive workplace.

    “A New America: How Millennials Are Sparking Change” combines the knowledge of seasoned leaders with the ambitions of young iconoclasts who are changing the world from the outside in. This first conversation took place at California State University in Los Angeles, featuring leading thought-leaders, educators, government officials, entrepreneurs and students.

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  • Reforming government surveillance

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

    Today, we are joining AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo in calling for reforms of government surveillance.

    Since Microsoft was founded, we’ve believed technology is a powerful tool that can help people. In that belief we remain steadfast.

    But we also recognize another important point. People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.

    Last week we announced that we’re taking new steps to reduce the risk of government snooping. Today we’re joining with others across our industry to call on governments to adhere to specific principles with respect to surveillance.

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  • Microsoft voices support for passage of the Innovation Act

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

    Thursday's overwhelming bipartisan House vote to pass the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) marks a significant milestone toward enactment of common-sense reforms to curb abusive patent litigation. Abusive patent lawsuits create a heavy burden on the U.S. economy — slowing innovation, undermining competitiveness and stunting economic growth.

    H.R. 3309 addresses this urgent problem by striking a balance that deters bad actors while protecting intellectual property rights.

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  • A day of action to demand ECPA reform

    Posted by Frederick S. Humphries Jr.
    Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

    On Thursday, Microsoft joined a nationwide day of action to call for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). We are asking Congress to codify what courts and service providers across the U.S. are already doing: require all law enforcement to obtain a warrant before demanding access to the contents of customer communications or documents customers store in the cloud. Microsoft has long supported reform of ECPA, is an active member of the Digital Due Process Coalition, and has testified before Congress on the importance of striking a better balance between privacy and the needs of law enforcement.

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