May, 2012

  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    The new and the old of cloud privacy

    Yesterday I was honoured to have an opportunity to speak briefly at the Privacy Commissioner's Privacy Forum,  titled "Think Big?  Privacy in the age of big data".

    A question was put to a panel by Vikram Kumar from InternetNZ as follows: “There are many real privacy risks in relation to cloud services. There also many misconceptions. What do you think is the single greatest risk and the single biggest misconception?”

    Cloud services can give rise to privacy issues, but perhaps the biggest misconception is that privacy issues arise because a service is deployed in a cloud.

    Cartoon © Chris Slane, all rights reserved. Used with permission. www.slane.co.nz

    People need to make decisions about which services to trust. This means weighing up the characteristics of a given provider and service against what is relevant and important to them, or to their organisation. To approach decisions in a principled way, it is critical not to over-simplify. We need to understand the true sources of potential issues.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Congratulations to Team Mobile Eye

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a competition that encourages students to solve the world's toughest problems.

    Visual impairment is one of those, and Team Mobile Eye from AUT took on the challenge. Their winning solution is a mobile app to assist people with visual impairment to “see” the world around them, through a combination of computer intelligence and crowd-sourced audio support. 

    Congratulations to Team Mobile Eye for winning the Imagine Cup NZ 2012!

    It was an intense competition this year. From an initial 400 entries across the country, four very strong teams were chosen from to contest the final stage of the NZ 2012 contest. These were Thought-Wired, Connect, Aura and Mobile Eye. You're all awesome.

    Imagine Cup NZ 2012 finalists celebrate.

    For those that attended I know you’d agree that the competition was massive – we were delighted to pack out the Auckland Town Hall with more than 1,000 people for the event. What great enthusiasm for these innovators who will lead NZ's future.

    Update (July 2012): Team Mobile Eye went on to reach the top six in the global finals, in competition with top entrants from 75 countries - an amazing result, and well-deserved.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Ten years of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative

    In 2002, Bill Gates wrote an email to all Microsoft employees that made trustworthy computing – including security, privacy and reliability – the top priority for the company. Ten years on, Microsoft continues its dedication to these objectives, which we refer to as the Trustworthy Computing initiative.

    The objective is to improve our products and processes, and to provide transparency about what we do. It's not about marketing assurances or slogans. It's about our culture as an organisation, and allowing people to make informed decisions about trust as it relates to their own individual context.

    Security Development Lifecycle

    One of the best-known outcomes of the trustworthy computing culture at Microsoft has been the implementation and publication of the Security Development Lifecycle, which incorporates privacy by design. It is a company-wide, mandatory continuous improvement policy. As well as being used within Microsoft, it is openly available for analysis, constructive criticism, and industry adoption.

    There is strong evidence that the Security Development Lifecycle has made a difference. Products developed using this methodology have delivered more secure and private computing experiences. For example, in 2002 Microsoft had the highest total of security vulnerability disclosures across its product portfolio. But in recent years the company has moved down the list even while the product portfolio has grown. This is illustrated on the chart below.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    The technology behind managing digital identities

    This week Microsoft was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Digital Identity Conference 2012 on Managing Digital Identity in a Networked World, organised by the Victoria University of Wellington.

    There are many facets to the dialogue on digital identity. It is woven of philosophy, context, technology, security, privacy, and individual rights and freedoms.

    Looking at the practical needs for IT systems, people need access to information and IT resources to get their job done. But if the wrong people get access, there can be serious consequences. Reliable identity information is essential for IT systems to know who should have access to what. As we move to a digital-first mind-set, organisations can save significant time and improve reliability of identity verification by moving to a single set of trusted client credentials and relying on a single agency’s identity information - provided that the correct policy and technology settings are in place to protect individuals.

    This article briefly discusses some of the practical issues relating to identity management in IT systems, and Microsoft technology that can help.

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