Fred Humphries is Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs for Microsoft in Washington, D.C. His work amplifies Microsoft’s voice on key advocacy issues internally and externally on all aspects of federal and state affairs.
In his current position, Mr. Humphries sets strategy and oversees government affairs outreach on a broad range of topics, including cloud computing, taxes, privacy, trade, cybersecurity, education and emerging technologies like Microsoft Kinect. He is also responsible for communicating Microsoft’s leadership role in fostering economic and job opportunities in the U.S. technology sector to policymakers.
Previously, Mr. Humphries held positions at the Tennessee Democratic Party, in Tennessee state government, presidential campaigns and other organizations. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and resides with his family in Washington, D.C.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft
Continuing the momentum we’ve seen across the country on computer science education, Idaho recently joined a growing number of states that allow computer science courses to count toward high school graduation requirements. We applaud Idaho for taking this important step, which will help prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow while supporting American innovation. Under the leadership of Gov. Butch Otter, the Idaho State Board of Education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Senate Education Chairman John Goedde and House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, Idaho has taken a critical step in closing the skills gap and strengthening the STEM pipeline.
In two weeks, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services will start to accept this year’s applications for H-1B visas. As in previous years, demand is expected to outpace the spaces available and many will not be able to get a visa to work in this country. This annual shortfall is again a reminder of the need for Congress to finally pass immigration reform.
Many voices across the spectrum – including Microsoft’s – have spoken in favor of reform. Two new studies provide further reminders about its economic importance and jobs impact.
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.
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.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft
At the White House Conference on Mental Health earlier this year, President Obama urged Americans to focus on ways we can all work together to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma often associated with seeking mental health care.
In response to the White House call for action, Microsoft and the American Psychological Association (APA) are partnering to create a series of Skype in the classroom lessons for elementary and secondary school students.
Today, we released Best Practice Guidelines for Ad Networks to Address Piracy and Counterfeiting. The Best Practices represent an important step in addressing the problem of display advertisements that appear on websites dedicated to copyright piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods. Microsoft – along with other leading technology companies – participated in the multi-year effort with the White House to develop these best practices, which will be implemented in the coming months.
As both a creator of copyrighted works and a provider of online services, including advertising services, Microsoft understands the problems faced by copyright owners subject to massive infringement and the need to ensure that innovation can flourish online. It’s been our experience that a notice-and-takedown mechanism like the one envisioned by these Best Practices can be an effective means to address online infringement.
Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued its “Special 301” report. This annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement around the world identifies both the progress and continuing challenges that exist with respect to IPR enforcement. In an unusual step, the Administration today designated Ukraine as a “priority foreign country” (PFC) which begins an investigation leading to possible sanctions consistent with trade statutes. Software piracy was identified as one of three issues that led to the designation.
PFC designation is a serious tool in IPR enforcement.
IPR protection is one of the key drivers of sustained economic growth and innovation, and Ukraine has enormous potential in this area. In July last year, Team quadSquad from Ukraine won the Imagine Cup, a world-wide competition sponsored by Microsoft for its winning project, Enable Talk, a software solution that transforms sign language into a form of verbal communication through sensor-equipped gloves and a mobile device. Without question, Ukraine has some of the best and brightest engineers and software developers who would benefit from a robust IPR regime.
Editor’s Note: The following post from Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries was originally published on the Computer Science Education Week Blog on Dec. 11.
The United States is facing a growing challenge that impacts American competitiveness and the opportunities available to the next generation. Put simply, our nation faces an increasing shortage of individuals with the skills necessary to create and deploy the next generation of information technology. At Microsoft, we have seen this challenge firsthand for our workforce and the workforce of our partners and customers, and we welcome opportunities, like Computer Science Education Week, where companies, government, schools, non-profits, students and parents can come together to tackle this challenge.
Despite the growing importance of computer science, it is only taught in a small percentage of U.S. schools. Out of 42,000 U.S. high schools, only 2,100 of them were certified to teach Advanced Placement Computer Science. As part of broader efforts to improve this situation, Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy [TEALS] program works to place high-tech professionals into high school classrooms as part-time instructors in a team teaching model in locations where school districts are unable to meet the computer science needs of their students on their own.
Microsoft welcomes today’s vote in the Senate to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for Russia and Moldova. We look forward to President Obama’s signature on this important legislation. The Russian Federation and Moldova are already Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and today’s action ensures that America now will be able to take advantage of the benefits of their joining the WTO, and the enforcement of the rule of law in key areas such as Intellectual Property Rights protection and Services, which are the key to our economy’s future competitiveness.
This has been a lengthy and important negotiation led by many U.S. Trade Representatives and officials across the Executive Branch of Government through many Administrations, including Senators Portman and Senator Johanns, among others.
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.
This summer, the people of the United States will look to Charlotte and Tampa as political leaders from across the country gather to lay out their vision for the future. Younger voters in particular have a stake in the course that will be charted in each city. They remain a pivotal voting block for the candidate who will best address their issues and concerns regarding jobs, education, political accountability and how to face the nation’s biggest challenges.
Microsoft has been named an official innovation provider of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and Committee for Charlotte 2012. This new relationship builds on Microsoft’s long-term partnership with the City of Charlotte to help youth realize new opportunities through educational development and support.
As an official innovation provider, Microsoft will streamline communications and enhance the convention experience for both convention organizers and participants through innovative, collaborative technology solutions like Office 365, consulting and support services, and – through our work with convention organizers and partner Interknowlogy – a touch-enabled Windows application that will allow convention delegates to cast floor votes on kiosks throughout the convention hall.
As our country continues to rebound from the global economic crisis, more and more attention is being paid to our future – and in particular the future of the next generation. Will they have the tools and resources they need to succeed in a 21st century economy?
The challenges facing youth vary from community to community, but a fundamental challenge is emerging across the world. While some young people are thriving and succeeding in the classroom and out, others are struggling because they lack the education, skills or opportunities they need to succeed.
On March 27, Microsoft, in partnership with The Atlantic, will host a live digital town hall discussion with influential thought leaders on how we can address this opportunity divide to ensure that today’s generation can compete in tomorrow’s world.
Consumer trust is vital to the growth of a vibrant Internet, and respect for privacy – putting people first – is essential to earning and maintaining that trust. Today’s release by the White House of their framework signifies an important milestone in the evolution of privacy interests of Americans and individuals around the world.
The Administration’s policy promotes an environment of transparency and meaningful privacy choices. Further, we are hopeful that the policy’s establishment of a robust stakeholder dialogue will lead to more specific solutions and help overcome challenges faster. We support the Administration in this effort.
Microsoft views today’s announcement as essential to a comprehensive approach to privacy that includes federal privacy legislation, technology tools for consumers, effective self-regulation, and all stakeholders working together on initiatives to improve privacy practices.
Washington, D.C. has been resilient through the economic turmoil of the past three years, but our region still faces significant challenges.
The world is changing fast, driven by changes like globalization and the rapid adoption of new technologies. These changes present huge opportunities, but they demand new skills and capabilities, especially in the area of science and technology. To help District residents navigate these opportunities and challenges, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray today announced a partnership with Microsoft designed to improve the region’s economic competitiveness by making technology, education and training more accessible to residents and local businesses.
We see an emerging “opportunity divide”- especially for young people - between those who have the skills, education and opportunities they need to thrive in this new world and those who don’t, and risk getting left further behind.
Earlier today, Microsoft and Politico hosted a conversation with White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra on the future of technology at Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The event, moderated by Politico tech policy writers, featured an interactive discussion covering the top tech issues of 2012, including privacy, piracy, patent law and spectrum reform.
An overall theme that emerged was the vital role of technology innovation in driving today’s global marketplace. Chopra emphasized the link by pointing out that it is not “just about technology itself, it’s how technology can modernize sectors of the economy to improve economic growth.” This discussion was especially timely coming on the eve of the President’s State of the Union speech tomorrow night to the U.S. Congress.
A new study released yesterday by the American Enterprise Institute confirms the powerful job-creation effects for American workers when well-educated foreign nationals are welcomed into our workforce. According to the study, each additional 100 foreign-born holders of advanced degrees from U.S. universities working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields create an additional 262 jobs among U.S. workers.
This conclusion lines up with prior research, and with our experience at Microsoft. Our workforce is made up overwhelmingly of U.S. workers, but foreign experts on work visas are a critical part of our innovation and job-creation dynamic. This means not only direct job creation, but dramatic downstream economic effects as well. According to a 2010 study by the University of Washington’s Economic Policy Research Center, every job at Microsoft supported 5.81 jobs elsewhere in the state’s economy.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice President of Government Affairs, Microsoft
Microsoft PAC (MSPAC) welcomed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to our Redmond, Wash. campus today.
Since its founding in 1998, our employee political action committee has invited political leaders, policymakers, popular authors, celebrities and others representing a wide range of views to speak to Microsoft employees. The nearly 4,000 Microsoft employees who have joined MSPAC have expressed strong interest not only in hearing from those who are closest to important contemporary matters, but in sharing their own ideas. MSPAC provides this ongoing forum for discussion, engagement and education.
The passage this week of the bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia and Panama puts America one step further on the path towards economic growth and propels the U.S. back into the international trade arena.
The agreements provide Americans with new market access opportunities for U.S. exports of goods and services while implementing new rules and disciplines in key areas such as intellectual property and regulatory due process – issues that are essential to innovation.
There is little dispute about the rapidly growing demand for wireless broadband connectivity and the strain it places on wireless networks. Policymakers can help to find more spectrum to enable the many devices consumers use to connect to the Internet and to each other. To help industry keep pace with consumer demand, policymakers must act quickly to adopt incentive auction policies, drive the deployment of smart radio technology and facilitate more unlicensed spectrum use including use of the “TV white spaces”.
Consumer demand for wireless broadband connectivity is rapidly growing. In a Staff Technical Working Paper, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reported an increase of more than 450 percent in the amount of mobile data consumers used per mobile line between the first quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010, and projected demand to grow to between 25 and 50 times current levels within five years. At the same time, consumers and network operators increasingly use unlicensed spectrum technologies to access wireless broadband. Mobile data offloaded to Wi-Fi hot spots from the networks of mobile operators is expected to reach almost 90 percent by 2015.
During last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama stated, “In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives; it’s how we make a living.”
The president’s words are a great reminder about the role technology plays in strengthening the American economy. The end of 2010 showed an increase in consumer confidence, consumer spending and an overall strong gross domestic product, yet Americans across the country still list the economy as their number one concern.
Posted by Fred HumphriesVice President, US Government Affairs
As we approach the 2010 midterm elections, the topic of political contributions has received much media attention so I wanted to provide background on Microsoft’s own policies. As part of Microsoft’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, we adopted a set of political principles several years ago which have been periodically updated. These political principles are available on our corporate website and are included annually in our Corporate Responsibility report.
Posted by Fred HumphriesManaging Director, U.S. Government Affairs
Over the last 25 years, technology has enabled data to move from the desk drawer to the desktop, to networks, to the Web and now into the cloud. This rapid growth offers tremendous potential for efficiency, cost savings and innovations to individuals, businesses and governments alike.
For example, Microsoft’s HealthVault is helping the Cleveland Clinic to manage diabetes and heart disease by digitizing patient data, storing it online and making it easily accessible for patients and health care providers. Using at-home medical devices such as heart rate monitors and glucometers, patients can monitor their conditions and upload their data into HealthVault, which incorporates that information into the patient’s personal health record at the Cleveland Clinic. This use of HealthVault by the Cleveland Clinic shows how cloud computing can improve communication and collaboration by making data easily accessible from anywhere at any time.
Posted by Fred Humphries Managing Director, U.S. Government Affairs
Last night, an important audience experienced Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that children use digital media and video games in safer, healthier, and more balanced ways. The audience was the U.S. Congress.
In cooperation with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Shimkus (R-IL), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Microsoft and the Get Game Smart program hosted Capitol Hill Family Game Night. More than 150 members of Congress, staff and their family members were joined at this educational event by parents and children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.