Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Today, we are releasing our 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report. This is our first Law Enforcement Requests Report. It provides data on the number of requests we received from law enforcement agencies around the world relating to Microsoft online and cloud services and how we responded to those requests. All of our major online services are covered in this report, including, for example, Hotmail, Outlook.com; SkyDrive; Xbox LIVE; Microsoft Account; and Office 365. We’re also making available similar data relating to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in October 2011.
We will update this report every six months.
In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests. Google, Twitter and others have made important and helpful contributions to this discussion by publishing some of their data. We’ve benefited from the opportunity to learn from them and their experience, and we seek to build further on the industry’s commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today.
Posted by Karen JonesVice President & Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal, Microsoft
Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had reached the statutory cap for H-1B specialty occupation petitions for fiscal year 2013, giving us a stark reminder of the continuing obstacles created by our country’s current framework for high skilled immigration.
This comes at a time when the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the unemployment rate for computer and math occupations at just 3.5 percent – reflecting the growing shortage of U.S. workers with these skills. Reaching the annual allotment of H-1B visas only 10 weeks after the application filing period opened disrupts U.S. business and stifles growth at a critical time in our nation’s economic recovery by shutting down the hiring of global talent for the next 10 months.
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.
Editor’s Note: Microsoft has been a proponent of accountability, a globally recognized principle of privacy and data protection, and prioritizes the concept in our privacy program. We recently published an accountability-based analysis of Microsoft’s privacy program and shared our position that organizations need clear guidance on how to demonstrate accountability, and that regulators need consistent means of measuring accountability. We’ve asked Elizabeth Denham, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, to share her thoughts on accountability timed to the recent release of accountability policy guidance in Canada.
Three of Canada’s Privacy Commissioners collaborated to publish policy guidance to help businesses effectively manage their obligations under privacy legislation.
Getting Accountability Right with a Privacy Management Program is getting noticed by businesses, regulators and organizations in Canada and internationally. Here is what you need to know about the paper, including why implementing a comprehensive privacy management program for your business is smart practice.
Posted by John FrankVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is reviewing allegations that Microsoft business partners in three countries may have engaged in illegal activity, and if they did, whether Microsoft played any role in these alleged incidents.
We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully, regardless of the source. We also invest heavily in proactive training, compliance systems, monitoring and audits to ensure our business operations around the world meet the highest legal and ethical standards.
The matters raised in the Wall Street Journal are important, and it is appropriate that both Microsoft and the government review them. It is also important to remember that it is not unusual for such reviews to find that an allegation was without merit. (The WSJ reported earlier this week that an allegation has been made against the WSJ itself, and that, after a thorough investigation, its lawyers have been unable to determine that there was any wrongdoing).