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Microsoft Urges Government & Industry to Build Confidence in the Cloud

Company proposes 'The Cloud Computing Advancement Act'

Microsoft Session at Cloud Expo

Today, Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft Corp., urged both Congress and the information technology industry to act now to ensure that the burgeoning era of cloud computing is guided by an international commitment to privacy, security and transparency for consumers, businesses and government.

During a keynote speech to the Brookings Institution policy forum, "Cloud Computing for Business and Society," Smith also highlighted data from a survey commissioned by Microsoft measuring attitudes on cloud computing among business leaders and the general population.

The survey found that while 58 percent of the general population and 86 percent of senior business leaders are excited about the potential of cloud computing, more than 90 percent of these same people are concerned about the security, access and privacy of their own data in the cloud. In addition, the survey found that the majority of all audiences believe the U.S. government should establish laws, rules and policies for cloud computing.

At today's event, Smith called for a national conversation about how to build confidence in the cloud and proposed the Cloud Computing Advancement Act to promote innovation, protect consumers and provide government with new tools to address the critical issues of data privacy and security. Smith also called for an international dialogue on data sovereignty to guarantee to users that their data is subject to the same rules and regulations, regardless of where the data resides.

"The PC revolution empowered individuals and democratized technology in new and profoundly important ways," said Smith in his keynote address. "As we move to embrace the cloud, we should build on that success and preserve the personalization of technology by making sure privacy rights are preserved, data security is strengthened and an international understanding is developed about the governance of data when it crosses national borders."

He continued, "Microsoft is committed to fostering the responsible development of cloud computing to ensure that data is accessible, safe and secure. We also need government to modernize the laws, adapt them to the cloud, and adopt new measures to protect privacy and promote security. There is no doubt that the future holds even more opportunities than the present, but it also contains critical challenges that we must address now if we want to take full advantage of the potential of cloud computing."

Microsoft's proposed legislation calls for the following:

  • Improvements in privacy protection and data access rules to ensure users' privacy, starting with reforming and strengthening the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to clearly define and provide stronger protections for consumers and businesses;
  • Modernization of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act so law enforcement has the tools it needs to go after malicious hackers and deter instances of online-based crimes;
  • Truth-in-cloud-computing principles to ensure that consumers and businesses will know whether and how their information will be accessed and used by service providers and how it will be protected online;
  • Pursuit of a new multilateral framework to address data access issues globally.

The full text of Brad Smith's speech can be read at the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news/cloudcomputing-policy.

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