Peter Cullen, Microsoft's Chief Privacy Strategist, here ...

Peter CullenMicrosoft maintains a strong focus on providing our customers with products and services that they can trust – because trust is vital to the success of our business. And we believe that to secure trust, we must safeguard the privacy of our customers’ personal information. So, it is essential that we constantly think about privacy. That is why we have put in place an internal structure that helps us to look at privacy holistically – throughout all of Microsoft. For products that our customers use, we think about privacy from conception, to design, to implementation. The Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) helps us to make our products more secure and more private at every step of the process. 

But our commitment doesn’t end with us. To ensure that we are living up to our own high standards, we also seek third-party audits for some of our products and services. By submitting to a rigorous inspection of our policies and our processes, our goal is to provide the level of transparency that our customers both desire and deserve. When it’s said and done, the audit process helps us to gain an outside and unbiased perspective on our products’ privacy levels and gives an added level of assurance for our customers. 
 
On Monday, Sept. 3, in Munich, we accepted a privacy seal for the Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage Program (WGA) for Windows XP from German privacy authority, Unabhängigen Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein (ULD), which is recognized the world over for its exacting high standards for privacy protection. The ULD awarded the seal to Microsoft after we submitted to and underwent a thorough legal review, as well as technical confirmation of how all data is collected and stored. This extremely detailed audit, conducted by independent auditor TÜViT, attested that our policies and practices are in line with those required by ULD standards. In addition, the audit also entailed a review of all WGA services relating to Windows XP and a review of all technical and functional specifications combined with a demonstration of all security measures and data access protocols.

This is not the first privacy award that we have received, in fact, Microsoft Update Service 6.0 and Windows Server Update Service 2.0 also received a privacy seal from the ULD earlier this year. And the Microsoft Phishing Filter has undergone a thorough review by the auditing firm Jefferson Wells – which noted full privacy compliance. But we are excited to receive the ULD seal for WGA, because it serves to underscore our commitment to provide products that reflect our customers’ desire to protect their personal information and to control the flow of that information.

So for us, it is gratifying to have our efforts recognized by such a prestigious body; but it is even more gratifying that our customers can be confident that we are meeting high privacy standards.
 
The security and privacy landscape is rapidly evolving, with new threats emerging every day. That is why we take the implementation of and adherence to privacy protocols so seriously. That is why we take the extra steps to let our customers know that Microsoft is committed to meeting some of the highest privacy thresholds in the world.