Posted by Mary SnappDeputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Last week, Brad Smith wrote a post on the encouraging signs that privacy is not only on peoples’ minds but that real actions are being taken to strengthen consumers’ online privacy. Key groups helping to shape the future of online privacy are moving closer to consensus on standards and rules to better protect people’s information. And consumer groups, as well as consumers themselves, are raising their voices and urging the computing industry to work together to give people more choice and control over how information is collected and shared online.
Today, we’re showing our commitment to that evolving dialogue with the launch of several consumer-focused actions: a targeted ad campaign in two U.S. cities – Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, MO – and a new online resource for consumers that will help them learn about their privacy behaviors and take steps to shape their online personas.
Posted by Ranveer ChandraSenior 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.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
On Sept. 27, the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center hosted a panel discussion with scholars from the Toulouse Network of Information Technology (TNIT) in Washington, D.C. The @Microsoft Conversation focused on restoring U.S. competitiveness, specifically exploring how America can ensure job creation and economic growth after a significant recession and slower than anticipated recovery over the past few years.
Posted by Dan ReedCorporate Vice President, Technology Policy Strategy & Extreme Computing Group, Microsoft
Imagine a five-lane freeway at rush hour. Except on this freeway, four of the lanes are assigned to specific purposes and can only be used by a certain class of vehicles. Some of the assigned lanes contain a steady flow of traffic, but others remain clear most of the time. Meanwhile, the rest of us, traveling in thousands of cars, must use the single remaining lane for our commute.
Thankfully, this situation is not likely to happen on our roadways, but it does with radio spectrum. Our laptops, tablets, smartphones and other connected devices use spectrum to connect and transmit data. When the metaphorical spectrum traffic lanes get jammed, there is no way to avoid the congestion and switch to a clear lane. As a result, users feel the pain of frequent dropped calls and degraded quality of service.
With more than five billion cell phones and a growing “Internet of Things,” the demands we’re placing on spectrum have run headlong into the traditional ways that society regulates and allocates spectrum use, based on approaches that are nearly a century old.
Posted by Dan BrossSenior Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft
Much attention during this election cycle has been focused on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. The impact of Citizens United and a range of other issues – including the role of corporations in our political process here in the U.S., was the focus of a conference I spoke at last week in Washington, D.C. sponsored by The Conference Board.
As with most things related to the upcoming 2012 elections, there was spirited debate and discussion on a range of topics related to corporate governance, accountability, transparency and disclosure. Surprisingly, these topics too are being cast by some as right/left issues. Good corporate governance isn’t a left wing plot or a right wing gambit, it’s just smart economic and civic policy.