Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
As 2012 draws to a close, we’re starting to see a number of “year-in-review” pieces recapping key developments in the tech industry over the past 12 months. One item that I think deserves to be near the top of these year-end lists is an issue to which we and others have been paying especially close attention.
We continue to strive to put privacy first for our customers, while recognizing that providing consumers with more choice and control of their privacy requires strong collaboration with a number of stakeholders. We often have a unique perspective in these discussions: We have billions of paying customers, as well as a thriving advertising business.
We’re looking ahead to 2013 to continue our efforts to put our customers front and center with respect to privacy, while also working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), consumer groups, the advertising industry, and government officials to seek a clear path forward. But first, let’s look at some of the progress made this year, and what future success could look like.
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 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 Tim RainsDirector, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
Today, we released the latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) containing a large body of new data and analysis on the threat landscape. This volume of the SIR includes:
· Latest industry vulnerability disclosure trends and analysis
· Latest data and analysis of global vulnerability exploit activity
· Latest trends and analysis on global malware and potentially unwanted software
· Latest analysis of threat trends in more than 100 countries and regions around the world
· Latest data and insights on how attackers use spam and other e-mail threats
· Latest global and regional data on malicious websites including phishing sites, malware hosting sites and drive-by download sites
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).