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Category Archives: Microsoft

Big Spending by Google Facebook and Amazon on Federal Lobbying

ConsumerWatchDog: “Google trimmed its spending on lobbying in the second quarter by 13 percent to $4.62 million, according to disclosure forms filed today with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, but still significantly outspent other tech giants. Google spent $5.29 million on federal lobbying in the second quarter of 2014 and $5.1 million in the first quarter of 2015. Both Facebook and Amazon set records in their efforts to influence policymakers during the second quarter. “The massive amounts these companies are spending demonstrates how policymaking is now about who has the big bucks rather than who has the big ideas,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. Facebook spent $2.69 million in the second quarter of 2015, a record, and up 27 percent from $2.12 million in the second quarter of 2014. It topped Facebook’s first quarter spending of $2.44 million by 10 percent. Amazon’s spending on lobbying soared 103 percent to a record $2.15 million in the second quarter of 2015 from $1.06 million in the comparable 2014 period. Microsoft, which used to lead tech companies in the amount spent on lobbying, trimmed its expenditures again. It spent $2.24 million in the second quarter of 2015 compared to $2.34 million in the same period of 2014, a 4 percent decrease.

MIT – 50 Smartest Companies 2015

“This year, when the editors of MIT Technology Review began our annual search for the smartest companies, we did not have trouble finding big ideas. To make the list, a company must have truly innovative technology and a business model that is both practical and ambitious, with the result that it has set the agendaContinue Reading

Bing to implement HTTPS summer 2015

Bing Moving to Encrypt Search Traffic by Default: “At Microsoft, we’re committed to helping users keep their data safe and secure. That’s why we support the industry’s move to use of TLS protocols as part of our effort to expand encryption across our networks and services. Bing has already been offering users the option toContinue Reading

Information Retrieval with Verbose Queries

Information Retrieval with Verbose Queries – Manish Gupta and Michael Bendersky, March 2015. “Recently, the focus of many novel search applications shifted from short keyword queries to verbose natural language queries. Examples include question answering systems and dialogue systems, voice search on mobile devices and entity search engines like Facebook’s Graph Search or Google’s KnowledgeContinue Reading

Tech giants communicate opposition to decrypted data for law enforcement

Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima: “Tech behemoths including Apple and Google and leading cryptologists are urging President Obama to reject any government proposal that alters the security of smartphones and other communications devices so that law enforcement can view decrypted data. In a letter to be sent Tuesday and obtained by The Washington Post, a coalitionContinue Reading

Microsoft researchers publish paper on new computer vision system claimed to outperform humans

Gigaom: “Microsoft researchers claim in a recently published paper that they have developed the first computer system capable of outperforming humans on a popular benchmark. While it’s estimated that humans can classify images in the ImageNet dataset with an error rate of 5.1 percent, Microsoft’s team said its deep-learning-based system achieved an error rate of only 4.94Continue Reading

Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

By SPIEGEL Staff: “…Software giant Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, said in a statement: “We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.” The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011, the service has been under order from the secret US ForeignContinue Reading

Irish Government Joins Microsoft Against US Govt Access to Cloud Based Servers

The Register: “The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world. Microsoft has garnered serious backing from the technology industry in its case against American investigators. The Feds believe they have the right to access emails stored onContinue Reading

Law Enforcement Without Borders

CDT – “A critical case is now working its way through the US courts—one that raises important questions for users and providers of cloud services in both the US and Europe. As part of a US criminal investigation, a US federal court has ordered Microsoft to hand over a customer’s files that the company holdsContinue Reading

Reflections on How Designers Design With Data

Reflections on How Designers Design With Data – Alex Bigelow, Steven Drucker, Danyel Fisher, and Miriah Meyer. Microsoft Research. May 2014. “In recent years many popular data visualizations have emerged that are created largely by designers whose main area of expertise is not computer science. Designers generate these visualizations using a handful of design tools and environments.Continue Reading

Paper – The Grey Web

The Grey Web – Dataveillance Vision Fulfilled through the Evolving Web. Richard Gomer, University of Southampton; Natasa Milic-Frayling, Microsoft Research; m.c. schraefel, University of Southampton. 2014. “Over the past three decades, Web has evolved from an information medium to an intricate economic ecosystem. Initially focused on supporting the transition from traditional business practices to e-commerce, the Web has given rise to new,Continue Reading

EFF – Reforming Terms of Service: Microsoft Changes Its Policy on Access to User Data

News release: “Last week we wrote about initial news reports that Microsoft had searched and disclosed the contents of a blogger’s Hotmail account as part of an internal investigation into the alleged theft of Microsoft source code and other trade secrets. Since then, EFF has been in touch with Microsoft to discuss our objections to the company’sContinue Reading