World Childhood Foundation marks 20 years with focus on AI and child safety online | Microsoft on the Issues

World Childhood Foundation marks 20 years with focus on AI and child safety online | Microsoft on the Issues

World Childhood Foundation, launched in 1999 by Queen Silvia of Sweden, recently marked 20 years of child protection with a roundtable on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse online.

The day-long event, held last month at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, brought together 60 AI experts, representatives from technology companies, child safety advocates, academics and others to explore new ways to combat the proliferation of child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery (CSEAI) online.

“How can we use AI as a catalyst for child safety online,” asked King Carl XVI Gustaf, who, along with Queen Silvia and other members of Sweden’s royal family, presided over the day’s discussions. “New approaches are needed, so we are bringing together some of the sharpest minds in AI and child protection to share knowledge and experiences.”

The event consisted of a series of presentations, panels and small-group discussions about raising awareness among the broader global population about the “epidemic” that is child sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as the misuse of technology to share illegal imagery and enable on-demand abuse of children tens of thousands of miles away. Experts shared experiences, ideas and data, including that reports of child sexual abuse videos to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) had risen 541% in 2018 compared to the prior year. Moreover, children of all ages and backgrounds are susceptible to sexual exploitation with more than 56% of the children in Interpol’s database identified as prepubescent. “Nothing surprises us anymore,” said one law enforcement official

Learn more

To learn more about the World Childhood Foundation, visit the organization’s website. To learn what Microsoft is doing to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse online, see this link, and to learn more about digital safety generally, go to www.microsoft.com/saferonline, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Paris Call: Growing Consensus on Cyberspace | Microsoft on the Issues

Paris Call: Growing Consensus on Cyberspace | Microsoft on the Issues

Today, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France’s Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, announced remarkable progress toward securing cyberspace. The community of Paris Call signatories is growing and taking new initiative to thwart attacks that threaten our democracies, economies and public services. The number of signatories of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, announced a year ago, has nearly tripled to more than 1,000 and now includes 74 nations; more than 350 international, civil society and public sector organizations; and more than 600 private sector entities. These commitments to the Paris Call from around the world demonstrate a widespread, global, multi-stakeholder consensus about acceptable behavior in cyberspace.

The principles in the Paris Call address real-world challenges we’re facing today, like preventing foreign interference in elections, protecting availability of the internet, and curbing attacks on critical infrastructure. Importantly, supporters are committed to working together in a multi-stakeholder model, with governments, industry, academia and civil society collaborating to protect our cyberspace from nation-state threats, including attacks on our democratic processes.

Nations now supporting the Paris Call reflect the broadening mandate for international action to address cyberthreats with 10 Latin American nations, 13 Asian and Pacific signatories and eight African nations joining with 42 European states and Canada. In total, Paris Call signatories represent almost 40 percent of United Nations member states.

Enterprises in more than 60 countries and civil society groups in more than 65 countries have now joined, with respected retailers like Migros of Switzerland and Rakuten of Japan; financial services and insurance companies like CIMB Group in Malaysia and AXA Group in France; the global logistics leader Deutsche Post DHL Group; media and telecommunications providers like Sky and Telefonica; as well as civil society organizations like the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. More than 60 enterprises and civil society groups in India have joined, although the Indian Government has not yet made its commitment

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Making it happen for his homeland | CNN

In this crazy world, and despite certain political efforts to not be open and welcoming, The United States can and will show again why we are the world’s leader in most everything that is right, just, and good.

Small- and medium-sized nonprofits now have the tools to bridge their own digital divides| Microsoft on the Issues

Small- and medium-sized nonprofits now have the tools to bridge their own digital divides| Microsoft on the Issues
Man sits at computer with girl
CONIN uses the Microsoft cloud to help eradicate child malnutrition in Salta, Argentina. Photo courtesy of CONIN.

Two years ago, we brought together a team of engineers, philanthropists, sales and business development professionals all with the singular focus to help every nonprofit to transform with technology. Our aim has been to create solutions that are purpose-built for nonprofits to help them both be more efficient operationally and effective programmatically.

The majority of nonprofits around the world each have less than 10 employees. These are often local community organizations on the frontlines of saving lives, providing critical education support in underserved communities, protecting the environment and wildlife, delivering meals to those who need it most, and so many other critical missions. Small nonprofits are at the greatest risk of being left behind in the digital world. Their size, funding and infrastructure do not always accommodate purchasing the latest technology, training their employees on how to use it, employing designated IT staff, or investing in resources to keep their organization secure. In fact, a study from Microsoft found that 60 percent of nonprofits report having no organizational digital policy to manage cybersecurity risk, and 74 percent do not take critical security steps to ensure email accounts are not compromised.

As a result, many small nonprofits are missing out on modern collaboration tools and operational efficiencies in the cloud that can create greater value. Due to limited capacity, outdated solutions are often deployed that offer limited security, leaving small nonprofits — and their beneficiary and donor data — vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks from hackers who see them as an easy mark. The consequences of this are real: If nonprofits don’t have cybersecurity practices in place, their data is at risk, especially for nonprofits based in high-risk areas where factors such as war and geo-politics are at play.

At Microsoft, we are committed to learning how to better serve this sector each day and evolving our social business model to help move nonprofit missions forward and drive social good. And driving that deeper impact can be furthered with our best-in-class productivity tools in a secured cloud environment for every nonprofit…

 

Visit at https://microsoft.com/nonprofits to learn more or connect with a partner at https://microsoft.com/nonprofits/partners.

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What is needed in 2019…

In these times that are as troubled as any in American history and Worldwide, for that matter, here comes a young lady who gets it.

Also a shameless plug for the great weekly newsletter from CNN, The Good Stuff.

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism: An update on our progress two years on | Microsoft on the Issues

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism: An update on our progress two years on | Microsoft on the Issues

The following announcement was jointly written by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft and posted to our respective online properties.

In summer 2017, Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft, and Twitter came together to form the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).

The objective of the GIFCT has always been to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to promote terrorism, disseminate violent extremist propaganda, and exploit or glorify real-world acts of violence on our services. We do this by joining forces with counterterrorism experts in government, civil society and the wider industry around the world. Our work centers around three, interrelated strategies:

  • Joint tech innovation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Conducting and funding research

Today, building on the commitments we made as part of the Christchurch Call to Action, we are adding a fourth pillar to our work that will focus on crisis response. Specifically, we are introducing joint content incident protocols for responding to emerging or active events like the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, so that relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed and acted upon by all member companies. We are also releasing our first GIFCT Transparency Report and a new counterspeech campaign toolkit that will help activists and civil society organizations challenge the voices of extremism online.

And as we head into our third year as GIFCT, we are pleased to welcome Pinterest and Dropbox as members. We will continue to add new members, particularly smaller companies that could benefit from the collective experience of GIFCT members.

More than 200,000 unique hashes now in our joint database

When terrorists misuse the internet, they often upload the same piece of content to multiple platforms to maximize their reach. To disrupt this behavior, we jointly developed a shared industry database of “hashes” — or digital fingerprints — that allows us to safely share known terrorist images and video propaganda with partner companies. This enables us to more quickly identify and take action against potential terrorist content on our respective platforms…

First GIFCT Transparency Report

We have heard loud and clear from government and civil society that we need to be more transparent about what we are working on as an industry. As a result, today we are releasing our first-ever GIFCT Transparency Report. The report goes into detail about the GIFCT’s primary work streams, providing greater insight into how the Hash Sharing Consortium has defined terrorist content, and the volume and types of content included in the database. The full transparency report, which is available here, will complement the transparency reports put out by individual GIFCT member companies.

A toolkit to counter violent extremism

When we committed to the Christchurch Call to Action and issued a nine-point plan outlining concrete steps we plan to take as an industry, we said, “We come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.” Never has that commitment been more important. As industry partners, we continue to prioritize and deepen engagement with governments, civil society, and smaller tech companies around the world…

Enabling and empowering companies to respond to crises like Christchurch

Perhaps most importantly, today we are adding a fourth pillar to the GIFCT’s core mission: enabling and empowering companies to respond to crises like Christchurch. The horrific terrorist attack highlighted the importance of close communication between members, and between government and the wider industry, which is why we are introducing joint content incident protocols to enable and empower companies to more quickly and effectively respond to emerging and active events…

We are grateful for the support of and collaboration with governments, international organizations, and NGOs around the world, including the EU Internet Forum and the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. We look forward to sharing more updates in the coming months.

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Microsoft President Brad Smith email to employees: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft President Brad Smith email to employees: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft president Brad Smith sent the following email to all Microsoft employees following announcements by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that they had reached an agreement with Microsoft to settle claims of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

From: Brad Smith

Sent: July 22, 2019

To: Microsoft – All Employees

Subject: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices

I’m disappointed to share some news today that I hope we’ll never need to repeat – about the announcement of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle claims of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

More specifically, it was announced that our Hungarian subsidiary has entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement, or NPA, with the DOJ and we have agreed to a Cease and Desist Order with the SEC. This follows Microsoft’s cooperation with a multi-year government investigation, reported previously, into potential violations of the FCPA between 2012 and 2015. (An NPA is a public contract between the DOJ and a company in which the company agrees to take certain actions; it does not involve the filing of any charges in court. The SEC Cease and Desist Order similarly is based on an agreement and doesn’t involve a court filing.)…

But it’s even more important that we take the time to learn from this moment, applying some broader lessons that are even more fundamental:

First, today’s settlements involved employee misconduct that was completely unacceptable. We conducted our own investigation and provided complete information to the DOJ and SEC. In Hungary, where the most concerning conduct took place, we fired four Microsoft Hungary employees over three years ago and terminated relationships with four resellers. Some of the resellers responded by complaining to local regulators in an attempt to restore their business and some of the employees responded by suing us. We’re grateful that local courts and regulators have backed up our decision to cut all ties with individuals and businesses that, in our view, behaved in a wholly unethical manner. We’re also grateful that the agreements with both the DOJ and SEC recognize the extent of our cooperation and the DOJ agreed that we deserved the maximum credit allowable for cooperation in determining a monetary penalty…

Second, we appreciate that strong words need to be backed by effective deeds. The first critical step, taken more than five years ago, was to learn from these issues and identify our own opportunities for improvement, especially in the systems and controls that reduce the risk that even a small number of employees and resellers can evade our policies. We’ve learned a lot from the work leading to today’s announcement and have continued to build on these efforts in a way that’s important for the issues in Hungary, as well as in three other countries described by the SEC today, and more globally as well…

Finally, I want to offer some words to each of you – our more than 140,000 Microsoft employees. Satya and every member of the company’s Senior Leadership Team readily recognize that the overwhelming majority of you are committed to doing business ethically and consistently with our high standards. Today’s announcement is a testament in part to the big problems that can be created by a few people. It took misdeeds by only a few people between 2012 and 2015 to lead to today’s $26 million settlement with two government agencies. That entire amount relates to conduct in Hungary, just one of the more than 120 countries in which we do business…

Ethical business conduct will always remain a team sport. We’re grateful for the support you’ve provided for this work around the world, and as we go forward, it’s critical that every individual employee come to work in the morning with the appreciation that you’re both our first and last line of defense.

It’s a never-ending job that deserves our focus and attention each and every day.

Thank you.

Brad

 

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