Yesterday, Microsoft released the Microsoft 2011 Citizenship Report. The report provides an overview and assessment of our work over the past fiscal year (July 2010 to June 2011). On The Official Microsoft Blog, Dan Bross, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship, has a full description of the report.
The report has a full section on “Privacy & Safety:”
Developing safer products
Product design can play a major role in helping protect users and giving them greater control.
- FY2011 products: Examples of new Microsoft products designed for privacy and safety include:
- Windows Internet Explorer 9: The latest version of our web browser incorporates new features to help users limit the information that websites can collect about them and to help protect users from inadvertently downloading harmful software.
- Kinect for Xbox360: Kinect uses built-in cameras and sensors to scan gamers’ body movement. However, Kinect was built with privacy protection in mind, and the body movement information does not personally identify an individual. If gamers are using Xbox LIVE, which allows them to interact with others online, body movement data is sent to the other players’ Xbox consoles. After the game session is over, the body movement data is immediately deleted from all consoles. Data may only occasionally be sent to Microsoft for analysis or to help improve the game.
- PhotoDNA implementation in Microsoft products: In FY2010, in partnership with Dartmouth College and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Microsoft developed PhotoDNA, an image-matching technology that helps find and remove some of the worst known child pornography images from the Internet. In FY2011 we implemented PhotoDNA on Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live SkyDrive, and Bing to help stop the spread of these images through these platforms.
- Microsoft Privacy Standard: We released a new internal Microsoft Privacy Standard to help our employees integrate privacy and safety into all parts of our business.
Teaching people how to stay safer online
As we committed to in our FY2010 Citizenship Report, we focused on teaching people online safety techniques in FY2011.
Safer Internet Day: For the ninth year, we worked with partners to celebrate Safer Internet Day. More than 1,000 Microsoft volunteers visited schools around with world and, together with local partners, helped teach more than 100,000 parents, teachers, and students about online safety – up from 50,000 reached on Safer Internet Day 2010.
- Data Privacy Day: We celebrated global Data Privacy Day by providing consumers with guidance on how to more safely use mobile phones and other devices.
- Safety and Security website: We launched a new Safety and Security website for customers that provides access to tools and guidance about online safety and security. The website serves more than 1 million customers a month.
Helping protect people and businesses online
- Fighting online crime: In FY2011, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit coordinated a legal and technical action that took down the Win32/Rustock botnet, a global online threat operating with more than 1 million malware-infected computers under its control globally. Before the takedown, Rustock was known to be one of the largest sources of spam in the world, capable of sending up to 30 billion spam messages a day. Microsoft has since been working with Internet service providers and Computer Emergency Response Teams around the world to help people clean the botnet malware from their infected computers and has provided free cleaning tools and information at http://support.microsoft.com/botnets. This was the second botnet takedown operation in Microsoft’s Project MARS (Microsoft Active Response for Security), a joint effort between the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Malware Protection Center, and Microsoft Trustworthy Computing to annihilate botnets and help make the Internet safer for everyone.
- Working with law enforcement and government: We work with law enforcement and government around the world to help fight cybercrime. For example, in FY2011 we worked with the European Commission to create 2CENTRE, a program to build the capacity of European countries to fight cybercrime. 2CENTRE will officially launch in FY2012 and will operate for two years. In FY2011 we also launched the Digital Crimes Community Portal, an online portal where Microsoft and members of the law enforcement and security communities can share intelligence on digital crime.
- Working with partners: We work with peers in the technology industry to figure out new ways to fight digital crime. In FY2011, we worked with Facebook as they implemented PhotoDNA to help identify illegal images of the worst-known child pornography online from the more than 200 million images uploaded to Facebook every day. We also partnered with the DNA Foundation to form a technology task force to explore new ways that the technology industry can help fight child sexual exploitation and trafficking.
- Working with policymakers: Online privacy and safety can be complex issues. We launched a new guide in FY2011 to help policymakers understand the online challenges that we face and help us work together to solve them. And as we said we would in our FY2010 Citizenship Report, we worked with policymakers to advocate for the legal frameworks that we need to help protect privacy and safety online. We made progress this year, but there is still work to do.
Our priorities for FY2012 include:
- Working with policymakers to help create comprehensive privacy legislation and reform of electronic surveillance laws in the United States and to develop privacy laws in emerging markets.
- Engaging with multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Council of Europe and the International Telecommunications Union to create strong and consistent global frameworks for privacy and security policy.
- Continuing to work with industry, law enforcement, government, and nonprofit partners to fight cybercrime. Our focus will include:
- Taking down botnets and helping to repair malware infected computers.
- Working with other online services companies to integrate PhotoDNA and other disruptive technologies into their products.
- Increasing awareness of online safety and data privacy through efforts such as:
- Updating the Microsoft Safety and Security website to give customers the most recent information.
- Supporting National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Safer Internet Day, and Data Privacy Day.
- Working with education partners to host more than 1,300 Family Online Safety Nights.
- Conducting privacy education campaigns.