Continuing our support for government surveillance reform

People from around the world are increasingly coming together to call for increased reform of government surveillance, and Microsoft sees Tuesday’s effort as a broad demonstration of that growing momentum. At Microsoft, we believe further reform is essential for our customers, our company and society at large – not only to help ensure the right balance between privacy and security, but to demonstrate our understanding that without liberty, we do not have security. 

While some recent progress has been made, such as increased availability of information on FISA/NSL requests, there is still much more to be done. For our own part, Microsoft is taking strong measures to support this goal, including strengthening encryption, increasing legal protections for customers and expanding transparency of our code – but technology industry efforts are not a substitute for government reform, and Microsoft shares the public’s concern regarding recent media reports about government access to data outside of legal process.

We believe it is time for an international convention on government access to data, and have joined with others across the industry to provide clear recommended principles for government surveillance reform at ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com. Microsoft will continue to push for policy and technical progress to restore public trust in technology through increased transparency, rigor, limits and oversight, as well as through greater coordination between governments.

In short, people won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it. Microsoft will keep advocating for change until that day comes, and in the meantime will continue to take direct action to protect our customers.

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.