We work to understand our human rights impacts and to apply the power of technology to advance human rights.
Report last updated November 2016
Human rights are the inherent rights that belong to all people. At Microsoft, we endeavor to respect and champion human rights in the way we do business. And we work with some of the world’s leading human rights organizations to apply the power of technology to advance human rights.
The Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement details our commitment to respect and promote human rights. Read the full Statement
Human rights governance
Microsoft’s internal governance on human rights issues seeks to ensure that our human rights commitments are met across our global and diverse business. We achieve that commitment through:
- Shared responsibility: Everyone within our business, including our partners, has a responsibility to respect human rights. This responsibility is established in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and is reflected in the Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement.
- Focus on impact: Across our company, we have teams with dedicated responsibility to drive decisions that demonstrate respect for customers’ and end users’ human rights. These teams have an immediate impact on rights holders by ensuring that their needs are reflected throughout Microsoft’s products, operations, and partnerships as a result of the policies and management systems they establish in product or service design, sales, business and employment practices, and by working with rights holders to achieve the realization of their rights.
Two groups with the greatest focus on Microsoft’s salient human rights issues both report directly to Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer:
- The Business and Corporate Responsibility Team (BCR) houses our policy efforts towards meeting our accessibility commitments and privacy.
- The Regulatory Affairs Team houses our policy efforts towards meeting freedom of expression commitments and our online safety standards.
Many groups within Microsoft manage our broad range of supplemental human rights issues. The Microsoft Philanthropies team and our business ethics and anti-corruption work sit within the Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (CELA) group. The responsible sourcing program supports both the Windows and Devices Group (WDG), which is responsible for Microsoft’s software platform, apps, games, store and devices that power the Windows ecosystem, and the Global Procurement Group, which sources the goods and services supplied to the Microsoft business. The topic of global diversity and inclusion in our workforce is managed by the Human Resources division, which implements the policies and programs to recruit, retain, and develop employees and to advance our cultural transformation.
- Programs and centers of expertise manage Microsoft’s human rights program by providing business guidance on human rights in the form of policies, due diligence, training, and transparency.
Within Business and Corporate Responsibility, the Corporate and Social Responsibility Team (CSR) houses our human rights program management, responsible sourcing, transparency and reporting, and coordination of our overall engagement with key international organizations including United Nations agencies. The CSR Team also operates the Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Center. The Center prioritizes and coordinates human rights due diligence, identifies emerging risks and opportunities related to human rights, and promotes harmonized approaches to human rights across Microsoft. The Center also fosters dialogue to advance understanding of the human rights impacts of ICT. Through the Center, Microsoft engages with a broad range of human rights groups, academics, and industry groups globally to share Microsoft’s experiences and lessons learned.
The work of the Technology & Human Rights Center is amplified by Microsoft’s CELA group, led by the President, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Microsoft. This group includes more than 1,300 business, legal, and corporate affairs professionals in 55 countries who are responsible for Microsoft’s legal, intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing, philanthropic, government affairs, public policy, corporate governance, and social responsibility work.
Regular and transparent disclosure on our efforts to respect human rights is essential for internal conversations, identifying opportunities for improvements in our corporate responsibility, and for ongoing dialogue with groups directly affected by or interested in our operations. These include customers and users, employees, suppliers, governments, civil society, investors and others.
Using the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, we can transparently disclose our activities in the Technology and Human Rights Center and in each of our salient human rights issues in the previous fiscal year through an additional downloadable report.
Further reporting is available for the supplemental issues of:
Find out more about Microsoft’s activities related to each of our salient human rights.
News and updates
Microsoft and UN Human Rights Office partner to strengthen human rights
The UN Human Rights Office announced a landmark five-year partnership with Microsoft. We will provide a grant of $5 million and work together on technology for human rights, and business & human rights.
The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack
We should take from this recent attack a renewed determination for more urgent collective action. We need the tech sector, customers, and governments to work together to protect against cybersecurity attacks.
‘My God, it’s better’: Emma can write again thanks to a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease
Haiyan Zhang, innovation director at Microsoft Research, has created a prototype watch that enabled Emma Lawton, a graphic designer diagnosed at 29 with Parkinson’s disease, to write her name for the first time in years.
Microsoft partners with Institute for Strategic Dialogue and NGOs to discourage online radicalization to violence
We’re pleased to announce that we’re partnering with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue on a pilot project to better enable NGOs to serve impactful counter-narrative content via advertisements on Bing.
Microsoft joins NoBully, UNESCO in upcoming global campaign to stop online bullying
Microsoft has joined NoBully and UNESCO in their bid to create a global campaign to stop online bullying and to inspire young people to stand up for one another in the digital space.
Microsoft releases biannual transparency reports
Microsoft has released its most recent biannual Law Enforcement Requests Report, U.S. National Security Orders Report and Content Removal Requests Report.
Overcoming online pitfalls: Improving safety and building trust through digital civility
Our Chief Online Safety Officer recently shared our new research and work on digital civility as a means of helping to combat online pitfalls including cyber-violence, hoaxes and misinformation.
The need for a Digital Geneva Convention
Brad Smith addresses the RSA Conference in San Francisco about the need for a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace.
Microsoft releases Digital Civility Index, challenges people to be more empathetic online
Read about how Microsoft is challenging people around the world to embrace “digital civility” and to treat each other with respect and dignity online.
Expanding partnerships and transparency on human rights
Read about our UC Berkeley partnership to further embed human rights in business education, and our reinforced commitment to transparency through our updated Microsoft global human right statement.
Meeting our GNI Commitments
Read about the Global Network Initiative’s (GNI) independent assessment finding that Microsoft complies with GNI Principles.
Addressing terrorist content
Read about Microsoft’s approach to addressing terrorist content while respecting privacy and freedom of expression.
Importance of our search warrant case
Our victory in this search warrant case was an important decision for people everywhere.
Why human rights are right for our business
Read our views on the business importance of respecting human rights.
A Cloud for Global Good
A roadmap for a trusted, responsible, and inclusive cloud.