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On the Issues: Society and Technology 

Advancing Online Privacy

Microsoft works to give consumers a safer Internet and more control over their information online.

Published: February 13, 2008

Privacy at Microsoft
Learn more about how the company is working to protect your data in an increasingly interconnected world.

Federal Trade Commission
Information and resources from the U.S. government.

Access to online information and services has brought enormous benefits to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Consumers and policymakers are understandably concerned, however, about potential misuses of personal information and other data gathered via the Internet. Microsoft shares in these concerns and is working hard to strengthen online privacy and security.

Simply put, we are committed to helping ensure that your information is kept private and safe, and that you control how that information is used.

This has been a focus for Microsoft for many years. In 2002, we launched our Trustworthy Computing initiative, setting privacy and security as top priorities throughout our software development process and for all our services and internal practices.

The results are reflected in products such as Windows Vista, Internet Explorer and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, which include many innovative tools and features to enhance privacy and security. Building on these efforts, we are developing new offerings such as HealthVault, which will make it easier for people to securely manage their personal health information online.

We were one of the first companies to call on Congress to adopt comprehensive federal privacy legislation. We collaborate with policy leaders and industry partners to strengthen data protection around the world. And we support a worldwide privacy education campaign that includes product updates, articles and tools that help consumers learn how to help protect their information.

Last summer, we announced our privacy principles for Windows Live Search and our online advertising services. These principles outline our commitment to making all Live search query data anonymous after 18 months — by permanently removing all cross-session identifiers, including the entirety of a device’s Internet Protocol address.

Our privacy principles spell out how we will work to make sure that your information remains safe with us. For example, Microsoft stores search terms separately from account information — such as names and e-mail addresses — that personally and directly identifies you. We also have protections to prevent unauthorized correlation of that information, so that data about your online behavior cannot be traced back to you. And we do not use personal information in serving online ads.

We are working hard to do our part and lead the way with progressive online privacy policies, practices and technologies. We will continue to listen to and collaborate with any and all interested companies, regulators and advocacy groups. That way, you will be able to enjoy, with peace of mind, the even greater benefits yet to come from advances in online technology and services.



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