Transcript: Brad Smith’s remarks at an employee meeting Thursday | Microsoft On The Issues

Transcript: Brad Smith’s remarks at an employee meeting Thursday | Microsoft On The Issues

Editor’s note: Given media reports about what was discussed at an employee meeting Jan. 21, we wanted to share the full transcript of Microsoft President Brad Smith’s remarks.

Bloggers note: There is much more at the transcript link than what is here, due to fair use requirements.

BRAD SMITH: Thank you, and it’s obviously an important question. I don’t want to repeat, but I do want to build upon what Satya said. You know, January 6, the attack on the Capitol was a horrific day for all of us, whether we’re in the United States or somewhere else. I think it was even more difficult, say, for our Black and Jewish employees, given the hateful symbols that were on display. This has obvious implications for the future donations of the PAC.

We took stock of our donations over the last four years, and we found that 80% of the donations had gone to members of Congress who voted to uphold the Electoral College, and 20% had gone to members who voted against the Electoral College…

So, I do believe it is important for our company to have this kind of effort, and at the same time, it’s important for us to take stock of the recent events, get feedback, have a conversation, and make decisions that will continue to reflect where we stand, and the values that we believe are important. You’ll see all of that unfold with dialogue with employees.

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Microsoft, Code.org partner to teach AI and ethics from elementary to high school | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft, Code.org partner to teach AI and ethics from elementary to high school | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft and Code.org are excited to announce a partnership that gives every student from elementary school to high school the opportunity to learn about artificial intelligence (AI).

At a time when AI and machine learning are changing the very fabric of society and transforming entire industries, it is more important than ever to give every student the opportunity to not only learn how these technologies work, but also to think critically about the ethical and societal impacts of AI.

AI is used everywhere, from voice assistants to self-driving cars, and it’s rapidly becoming the most important technological innovation of current times. AI has the potential to play a major role in addressing global problems, such as detecting and curing diseases, cleaning oceans, eliminating poverty or harnessing clean energy.

For more on Microsoft and Code.org’s partnership, read the full post here.

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Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft has released its latest biannual digital trust reports on the Microsoft Reports Hub. These reports consist of the Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report, Content Removal Request Reports and our new Digital Safety Content Report. We have also now aligned the latest Microsoft Privacy Report with the release of this larger group of reports.

We continue to strive toward building and maintaining trust in technology, and we know that transparency is a key component to that trust. Our digital trust reports are intended to help our customers understand how Microsoft responds to government and law enforcement requests for data and for content removal, and the steps we take to protect our customers and their data…

Law Enforcement Requests

Requests for consumer data:

  • During the first half of 2020, Microsoft received a total number of 24,093 legal requests related to our consumer services from law enforcement agencies around the world, which is an increase from the previous six-month period where we saw 21,781 legal requests.
  • A majority of the law enforcement requests Microsoft received during this period continued to come from a handful of countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Specific to Unites States law enforcement, Microsoft received 5,507 legal demands for data related to our consumer services.

Requests for enterprise customer data:

  • In the first half of 2020, Microsoft received 91 requests from law enforcement around the world for data associated with enterprise cloud customers (defined as customers who purchased more than 50 seats).
  • In 42 cases, these requests were rejected, withdrawn or law enforcement was successfully redirected to the customer to obtain the information they were seeking.
  • In 49 cases, Microsoft was compelled to provide some information in response to the order: 24 cases required the disclosure of some customer content, and in 25 of the cases we were compelled to disclose non-content information only.

U.S. National Security Orders

The U.S. National Security Orders Report, which encompass the period from July to December 2019, is largely consistent with the previous reports:

  • For the latest Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) data reported, Microsoft received 0-499 FISA orders seeking content disclosures affecting 14,500-14,999 accounts, which is an increase from the previous period where disclosures affected 14,000-14,499 accounts. We received 0-499 National Security Letters in the latest reporting period, which is unchanged from the previous period.

Content Removal Requests

The latest Content Removal Request Reports details acceptance rates regarding requests received from governments, copyright holders and individuals subject to the European Union’s Right to be Forgotten ruling.

Digital Safety Content

The Digital Safety Content Report we are releasing today covers actions that Microsoft has taken in relation to child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery (CSEAI), terrorist and violent extremist content (TVEC), as well as non-consensual intimate imagery (NCII) that we are moving over from the Content Removal Request Report where it was previously categorized as non-consensual pornography. Microsoft will continue to invest in reporting and transparency coupled with ongoing technology innovation to support our digital safety operations. We continue to take steps to ensure that our platforms and services remain safe and welcoming to everyone while respecting people’s right to privacy and freedom of expression.

Microsoft Privacy Report

Starting today. we will also begin aligning the Microsoft Privacy Report with the release of the other transparency reports discussed above. We announced this report in 2019 as part of larger efforts to provide customers increased transparency and control over their data. The latest report can be found here.

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Statement on the recent Greenpeace report | Microsoft On The Issues

We agree that the world confronts an urgent carbon problem and we all must do more and move faster to reach a net zero-carbon future. The reality is that the world’s energy currently comes from fossil fuels and, as standards of living around the world improve, the world will require even more energy. That makes realizing a zero-carbon future one of the most complex transitions in human history.

We’re up for the challenge. That’s why we have committed to be carbon negative by 2030 and to removing all the carbon we’ve emitted since our founding by 2050. We will shift to 100% supply of renewable energy for the carbon-emitting electricity consumed by all our data centers, buildings and campuses by 2025. Technology can accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon future, so we are helping our customers reduce their carbon footprints and co-innovating low-carbon solutions. We’re also using $1 billion of our capital for climate innovation, including developing new technologies for carbon capture and removal. We are also supporting policies that advance an inclusive transition to a low-carbon future.

We’re encouraged by the growing number of energy sector commitments to transitioning to cleaner energy and lowering carbon emissions, but they can’t do it alone. Businesses, governments and civil society can rise to the challenge to meet the world’s growing energy demands and achieve a net zero carbon future.

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Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft has released its latest biannual digital trust reports on the Microsoft Reports Hub. These reports consist of the Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report and Content Removal Request Reports.  We continue to strive towards building and maintaining trust in technology, and we know that transparency is a key component to that trust. Our digital trust reports are intended to help our customers understand how Microsoft responds to government and law enforcement requests for data and for content removal.

When Microsoft receives a law enforcement request – from any government – we review the request to ensure it is consistent with controlling law and our Microsoft principles. We disclose customer data only in response to a legally valid warrant, order or subpoena and only after we confirm the request specifies specific accounts or individual identifiers. We object to improper legal demands — even through litigation when necessary…

Law Enforcement Requests

The Law Enforcement Requests Report encompassing the period from July to December 2019 remains largely consistent with previous reports:…

U.S. National Security Orders

The U.S. National Security Orders Report, which encompass the period from January to June 2019,  is largely consistent with the previous reports:…

Content Removal Requests

The latest Content Removal Request Reports details acceptance rates regarding requests received from governments, copyright holders, individuals subject to the European Union’s “Right to be Forgotten” ruling, and victims of non-consensual pornography.

Looking ahead: Digital Safety

As part of our responsibility to create software, devices, and services that advance digital safety, we are committed to identifying and making available additional information related to this work in transparency reports. In February 2020, the U.S.-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) released its 2019 CyberTipline report of suspected online child sexual exploitation with data breakdowns by electronic service provider, including Microsoft. In January 2020, Microsoft assumed the role as Chair of the newly independent Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism working with civil society, governments, and other technology companies to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms. We look forward to providing further insight into our approach to addressing digital safety in fall of 2020.

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Microsoft to join White House-led consortium to fight COVID-19 | Microsoft On The Issues

Microsoft to join White House-led consortium to fight COVID-19 | Microsoft On The Issues

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful High Performance Computing (HPC) resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.

This unique public-private consortium, spearheaded by the White House, the U.S. Department of Energy and IBM, includes Microsoft and other industry, government and academic leaders who have volunteered free compute time and resources.

Microsoft, as part of the AI for Health program, will provide grants to ensure additional access for researchers to our Azure cloud and high-performance computing capabilities. Our team of AI for Health data science experts, whose mission is to improve the health of people and communities worldwide, is also open to collaborations with COVID-19 researchers as they tackle this critical challenge.

Read the full statement here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/white-house-announces-new-partnership-unleash-u-s-supercomputing-resources-fight-covid-19/

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Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft releases biannual digital trust reports | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft has released its latest biannual digital trust reports on the Microsoft Reports Hub. These reports consist of the Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report and Content Removal Request Reports.  We continue to strive towards building and maintaining trust in technology, and we know that transparency is a key component to that trust. Our digital trust reports are intended to help our customers understand how Microsoft responds to government and law enforcement requests for data and for content removal…

Law Enforcement Requests

The Law Enforcement Requests Report encompassing the period from January to June 2019 remains largely consistent with previous reports…

U.S. National Security Orders

The U.S. National Security Orders Report, which encompass the period from July to December 2018,  is largely consistent with the previous reports:..

Content Removal Requests

The latest Content Removal Request Reports details acceptance rates regarding requests received from governments, copyright holders, individuals subject to the European Union’s “Right to be Forgotten” ruling and victims of non-consensual pornography…

Looking ahead

In recent months, Microsoft has been working with civil society, governments and other technology companies to collectively implement the Christchurch Call to Action and to evolve the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). As part of our commitment to these initiatives, among others, that require public disclosure of how we are handling terrorist and violent extremist content, we will conduct multi-stakeholder consultations and other efforts to identify and make available additional information via our digital trust reports.

We will provide an update on progress in the next digital trust report in the spring of 2020.

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