• NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Protecting student privacy

    “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with [his or her] privacy.”
    - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, 1948

    New Zealand’s schools work hard to earn the trust of their communities. As part of the important work they do, schools need to collect and hold a large body of confidential and private information about children and their families.

    The 2020 Communications Trust ICT in Schools survey suggests that if digital records and email are not already used extensively in every New Zealand school, they soon will be.

    In recent years some schools have taken a step further, and are starting to send information to computing services outside the school grounds for storage and processing.

    In the hands of teachers who have been supported with skills development and the freedom to innovate, new devices and cloud services present wonderful opportunities to prepare students for the future.

    “The rise of new computing services is a huge enabler for schools. It allows for more efficient provision of services compared with on-site hardware, and a wider range of services can be brought into the school,” says Jordan Carter, Acting Chief Executive of InternetNZ.

    However, as with most new innovations, there are new risks to understand.

    Schools need to learn about what is happening behind the scenes. They need to ensure that their staff have the knowledge and tools they need to work in this environment. Schools may not be fully aware whether data is safe, or even that they might have lost control of it.

    Jordan says, “The most important way to deal with these challenges is open and up front discussion in school communities and with providers. Know what is offered, and on what terms, from service providers - especially in terms of data security and privacy, and commercialised use of data. Demand clarity from providers in their answers - plain English explanations and clear documentation.”

    To find out more about the right approach for schools in New Zealand, we were interested to find out more about what parents want. Of the 400 parents surveyed, 95% want schools to require providers of computing and Internet services to commit by contract that they’ll only use student data to deliver services to schools, not for the companies’ own purposes.Chart: 95% of parents want schools to require providers of computing and Internet services to commit by contract that they’ll only use student data to deliver services to schools, not for the companies’ own purposes

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Te reo Māori choice for Windows 8, Office 2013, and the Internet

    For ten years Microsoft has been collaborating with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) and language experts to bring free te reo Māori interfaces to the technology that millions of Kiwis use every day.

    In preparation for Māori Language Week 2013, Microsoft has announced today that the choice to use te reo Māori in Windows 8, Office 2013, Outlook.com, and Internet Explorer 10 is available now.

    Detail of Windows 8 Start Screen with Te Reo Maori

    “We are thrilled to continue our support for te reo Māori,” says Paul Muckleston, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand Limited. “We are grateful for the hard work that so many people have done to make it possible to weave this taonga into the very latest of tablet, smartphone, PC, and cloud technologies.”

    “We are also announcing our support for a new initiative that can bring free te reo Māori translations to the Internet with the Microsoft Translator Hub in the future,” says Muckleston.

    “Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to te reo Māori deserves to be celebrated,” says Glenis Philip-Barbara, Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. “Microsoft has worked with translators to develop and polish top notch translations for more than 100,000 phrases and they provide a truly immersive experience. It is exciting to see our language so comprehensively supported in the Microsoft products that are widely used in our community.”

    Philip-Barbara adds that support for te reo Māori in technology is essential for investing in tamariki by offering an interface from their school years. This allows youth to be immersed in te reo for life. 

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Microsoft releases NZ privacy guide for Office 365

    New Zealand organisations are quickly deploying cloud computing. Low prices and convenience are appealing, but there are also important questions to ask around privacy, security, and data integrity.

    Waldo Kuipers, Corporate Affairs Manager at Microsoft NZ, says “Organisations know that trust matters. They need to keep business information secure, and do the right thing on privacy. But people often tell us they’re unsure what to ask.”

    In February, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner published a plain English cloud computing guide. That guidance is available at http://privacy.org.nz/using-the-cloud/.

    “Headlines about information leaks have raised awareness, and Kiwi organisations are taking privacy seriously. They want their move to the cloud to improve privacy and security, so they’re asking us to take them through this cloud guidance,” says Waldo.

    Today, Microsoft NZ has released a standard response to help organisations assess the Office 365 cloud service, based on the cloud guidance from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. “It’s a very straightforward way for people to work through this official cloud privacy guidance if they’re considering Office 365,” explains Waldo.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Cloud computing standards

    With responsible adoption of cloud computing services at front of mind for many organisations and policy makers, it is timely to consider the global context and New Zealand's work to advance trustworthy computing. This article was originally published by Standards NZ in Touchstone Issue 48 - April 2013 as An update on standards for cloud computing and has been re-published with permission.

    The international standards community is working together to address many of the common challenges of cloud computing. These challenges include clarifying exactly what is meant by 'cloud computing', managing its risks, increasing security, and improving the governance and management of cloud-based services. The goal is to make cloud computing easier for your organisation – whether that's as a cloud computing consumer or provider.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    A new world of work

    Microsoft’s new Wellington office has opened for business today.

    Following a karakia led by local kaumātua Sam and June Jackson, the Wellington office opened its doors to the public at 11am this morning. Local Member of Parliament Grant Robertson and US Ambassador David Huebner attended a celebration with Microsoft partners, community stakeholders, and customers.

    Karakia with Sam and June Jackson

    The new office puts people at the centre. The fresh design was placed in the hands of Microsoft’s Wellington staff, working with local architects Stephenson&Turner and taking inspiration from the movement towards activity based working. The goal was to make people feel great about being here.

    Microsoft offices around the world have started to move to activity based working. This has been inspired by today’s technology that allows work to be done seamlessly from anywhere. New flexibility allows people to define work by what they do, rather than where they are.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Humanising Data contest winners announced

    With the recent launch of Windows 8, we have been delighted to see how quickly Kiwi software innovators are taking advantage of the Windows Store platform.

    New Zealand consumers want access to fantastic apps that are built just for them. As a small gesture of encouragement to people working on turning local data sources such as the Government’s open data archives into beautiful apps especially for Kiwis, we ran a contest on Humanising Data. Today we’re pleased to announce the five winning apps selected by the judges.

    Screenshot of contest winning Windows Store apps on Windows 8 Start Screen

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Technology and the Māori Language Awards 2012

    The Māori Language Awards 2012 were held on Friday last week in Tauranga.

    It was an inspiring event that celebrated the contributions of 30 individuals and organisations who have contributed to te reo Māori through their work. I attended the event with my colleague Anne Taylor, who has supported Microsoft's investment in te reo Māori since 2004. 

    Maori Language Award 2012 for the ICT category awarded to Microsoft.

    Microsoft has collaborated with language experts to bring te reo Māori to Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer. All it takes to add a te reo Māori user interface to these products is installing the free downloads for each product you have. We encourage everyone to try it.

    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2010 with te reo Maori interface

    We are honoured to be recognised for this investment through the awards. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge everyone who has been involved with this work, and thank them. This work has only been possible because of the passion and dedication of many people.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Making Data Human at TechEd NZ 2012

    Last week we were delighted to join more than 2,000 technology professionals at TechEd New Zealand 2012.

    A strong theme of this year’s keynote was the use of technology to make data human: Useful, exciting, beautiful, and even fun! It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking at a page of numbers, but keynote speaker Jer Thorp (Data Artist in Residence, New York Times) showed with great humour and conviction exactly how to achieve it.

    Jer Thorp, Data Artist

    Continuing the theme of making data human, Hon Amy Adams (Minister of Communications and Information Technology) discussed the data that Government collect and make freely available for businesses and developers to gain insight and build great applications. The Government’s data.govt.nz website now boasts almost 2,000 sets of open data.

    Hon Amy Adams at the Welcome Reception

    We were pleased to announce a contest to build Windows 8 apps that make use of New Zealand data, for New Zealanders. The contest is open to all New Zealand residents, and we’re giving away five Windows RT slates to the contest winners as an extra incentive for people to get involved.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Innovate with Cloud Computing

    Businesses use technology to improve productivity. They need it to speed up innovation, and help with the basic needs to save money and get more done.

    Internet-based subscriptions make cloud computing a cheaper way for businesses to get computer technology working for them. Capital expenditure and maintenance can largely be taken care of by cloud providers in return for a fee based on actual use. Because of scale and automation, that fee is typically less than your actual costs would be running services yourself.

    Today's Microsoft cloud solutions can help businesses:

    • Keep email, calendars, and documents in sync, no matter where you access them.
    • Host online meetings, with rich voice, video, and document sharing.
    • Keep track of customer relationships and gain insight from data.
    • Create a simple website to provide information about your business to the world.
    • Store and quickly process enormous amounts of data for business or scientific insight.
    • Help keep an organisation’s computers and phones secure and running smoothly.
    • Efficiently host sophisticated custom websites, business apps, and virtual machines.


    You can move at your own speed – Microsoft’s flexible approach allows the mix of private or public services (either in NZ or in a global datacentre) that suits you. There is no “our cloud or nothing” ultimatum.

    This paper summarises some of the circumstances in which it's worth considering a cloud option, and some of the factors to weigh up when moving business-critical support services to the cloud.

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  • NZ GovTech - Microsoft New Zealand Government Affairs Blog

    Helping communities with skill-based volunteering

    A growing number of businesses in New Zealand are making a conscious effort to encourage and facilitate their employees’ volunteer activities in their own communities. At Microsoft New Zealand, some employees have chosen to use their three days of paid volunteer leave available to them each year to share their significant professional and technical skills with community organisations.

    Plunket is the largest provider of free support services for the development, health and well-being of children under the age of five in New Zealand. The non-profit organization has been undertaking a technology transformation over the past 18 months, which Microsoft has been supporting with a significant software grant. Microsoft New Zealand employees, as enthusiastic supporters of the work Plunket does in the community, were eager to devote time and resources to work together with Plunket to ensure that they were able to maximize the value of the investment they received.

    “Expertise in skill areas that Plunket does not currently possess, but Microsoft has in spades, is highly valued,” said Craig Le Quesne, General Manager, Information Communications Technology, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society. “

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