Posted by Brendon LynchChief Privacy Officer and Senior Director, Trustworthy Computing
Last night, Microsoft was honored to accept the 2010 HP-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award for Technology. The award was presented by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), the world’s largest association of privacy professionals, during the IAPP Privacy Academy conference in Baltimore, MD, USA. We won the award for U-Prove, a security and privacy-enhancing technology that helps people protect their identity-related information. U-Prove uses tokens that make it possible for people to protect their identities by enabling them to disclose only the minimum amount of information needed for a transaction – sometimes no personal information may be needed at all. We are delighted that our fellow privacy professionals have recognized the innovative nature of the U-Prove technology and Microsoft’s commitment to enable privacy in identity systems. We have taken an initial step to make the U-Prove technology broadly available to software developers under an open source license.
Posted by Pamela PassmanCorporate Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
While employment in the overall U.S. economy shrank from 2008 to 2009, the number of jobs in the IT sector held steady, according to data released Tuesday by the U. S. Census Bureau. This finding supports the results of earlier studies that demonstrated how IT employment, and investment in innovation, will contribute to the economic recovery in the U.S. and globally.
IDC found that jobs in the U.S. IT sector will grow at a rate of 1.6 percent annually through 2013, adding more than a million new family wage jobs and creating almost 13,000 new IT businesses -- at the same time overall employment shrinks. The same study found that the 125,000 companies (most of them small and locally owned) in the Microsoft community of partners in the U.S. generated more than $169 billion in revenues for themselves in 2009. The vast majority of these revenues remained in local communities to fuel further growth, opportunity, and innovation. These Microsoft partners accounted for 36 percent of total U.S. IT employment and 39 percent of IT-related taxes.
A 2010 study by Robert Atkinson and Scott Andes of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that the growth in IT employment between 1998 and 2008 grew by 26 percent, when overall employment grew by 6 percent.
Posted by Mike HintzeAssociate General Counsel Last week, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and I testified in Congressional hearings on the need to reform the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA). In our testimony, we explained how the statute has failed to keep up with advances in technology. When it was enacted in 1986, ECPA established the standards under which law enforcement can compel service providers to disclose customer content and account information, and in doing so, struck a balance between the legitimate needs of law enforcement and the public’s reasonable expectations of privacy. But with the rapid growth in cloud computing, the balance Congress struck in 1986 has fallen out of alignment. With dramatically more data now being stored in cloud-based services for longer periods of time, more and more user data is being put within the reach of law enforcement tools that require a lower burden of proof. In both hearings, there was general agreement among the panelists that ECPA has failed to keep up with current technologies and that Congressional action can bring needed clarity and other improvements. Representatives of law enforcement understandably raised concerns that reforms could go too far and hamper the ability of the government to fight high tech crime and protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. Industry representatives stressed the many economic and societal benefits of cloud computing and pointed out that unless user privacy is adequately protected, these benefits may not be fully realized. All the panelists agreed that there needs to be a balance, and that Congress should play a role in determining what that balance should look like today, just as it did in 1986.
Posted by John Seethoff Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Dr. Helmut Panke joined the Microsoft board of directors in 2003, bringing his insights about international business and brand building from an illustrious career at BMW which culminated in his leading that company from 2002 to 2006. He recently sat down for an interview for another installment of our profiles on Microsoft’s Channel 9 featuring our board of directors.
In his interview, Dr. Panke discusses topics including how he came to be Chairman and CEO of BMW, his scientific background, what it’s like to be a member of the Microsoft board, and offers a behind the scenes view of how the board operates.
More information about the board of directors and corporate governance at Microsoft is available here.
Posted by Walter Harp Director of Product Management, Windows Live
Over the past few months, Windows Live has announced several new security features that will provide additional account protection for people on Hotmail, including Single Use Codes, Full Session SSL, SMS-based account recovery, and Trusted Senders – this all in addition to our SmartScreen safety filter, which helps protect people against phishing and malware. You’ll see even more from us in the weeks ahead.
In the last two years, consumer webmail and social networking services across the web have experienced an increase in the incidence of hijacking, which occurs when someone illegally gains access to another person’s account – email, social profile - and then uses that account for malicious activity. In a typical scenario, hackers will hijack large numbers of accounts and then use those accounts to send spam or social invites to the victims’ friends or others on the victims’ contact lists.
As two security experts from Google and Microsoft discussed yesterday on the video embedded in this blog, no consumer email or social networking service is immune to this challenge.