White House Announcement Sets Course for Privacy

Consumer trust is vital to the growth of a vibrant Internet, and respect for privacy – putting people first – is essential to earning and maintaining that trust. Today’s release by the White House of their framework signifies an important milestone in the evolution of privacy interests of Americans and individuals around the world.  

The Administration’s policy promotes an environment of transparency and meaningful privacy choices. Further, we are hopeful that the policy’s establishment of a robust stakeholder dialogue will lead to more specific solutions and help overcome challenges faster. We support the Administration in this effort.

Microsoft views today’s announcement as essential to a comprehensive approach to privacy that includes federal privacy legislation, technology tools for consumers, effective self-regulation, and all stakeholders working together on initiatives to improve privacy practices. For these efforts to be successful, the private sector needs to play a critical role, and important work has already begun. 

Since 2006, Microsoft has endorsed the adoption of comprehensive federal privacy legislation to establish a baseline set of privacy and security requirements. We have created privacy tools, like Tracking Protection in Internet Explorer, to help keep personal information private when browsing sites across the Web; Internet Explorer was the first major browser to respond to the Federal Trade Commission’s call for a do-not-track mechanism.

Additionally, Microsoft has been part of the self-regulatory program that is being recognized today by the Administration and the Federal Trade Commission that was developed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). In keeping with the DAA goals, and to further advance the privacy interests of consumers, Microsoft will begin work to use the do-not-track browser signal as an additional method for users to opt-out of interest-based advertising under the DAA program.

We appreciate the Administration’s leadership in this area. At Microsoft, we are committed to fostering innovation in a way that respects individual privacy. The Administration should be commended for taking steps that further that goal.

About the Author

Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

Fred Humphries is Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs for Microsoft in Washington, D.C. His work amplifies Microsoft’s voice on key advocacy issues internally and externally on all aspects of federal and state affairs. In his current position, Mr. Humphries sets strategy and oversees government affairs outreach on a broad range of topics, including cloud computing, taxes, privacy, trade, cybersecurity, education and emerging technologies like Microsoft Kinect. He is also responsible for communicating Microsoft’s leadership role in fostering economic and job opportunities in the U.S. technology sector to policymakers.