Microsoft Names Bank Exec as Chief Privacy Strategist

Microsoft has named Peter Cullen as its new chief
privacy strategist to help bolster its “Trustworthy Computing” initiative
aimed at improving the reliability and security of its software products.

Cullen, who leaves his position as corporate privacy officer for Royal
Bank of Canada (RBC), replaces Richard Purcell, who reportedly resigned in

The new privacy strategist is expected to work closely with Scott
Charney, chief Trustworthy Computing strategist at Microsoft, to help
bolster the company’s efforts to ensure sensitive information is protected
in all of its products.

Cullen, who will join Microsoft on July 14th, comes at a time when the
software giant is working to improve its reputation for secure products
after a recent spate of security problems in some of its products.

In May, for example, the company scrambled to plug a security hole in its
.NET Passport service, which potentially risked disclosing the personal
information of Microsoft’s Hotmail users.

Since then, however, the company has been moving to beef up its
Trustworthy Computing initiative, which is built around four main
principles: security, privacy, reliability and business integrity.

In early June, the company also joined with secure e-commerce concern
VeriSign in order to jointly develop enhanced authentication security and
digital rights management (DRM) products. Among the goals in the alliance is
to improve security in existing software, while providing automated renewal
of digital certificates, secure e-mail and digital signatures.

Cullen said he decided to join Microsoft because of its commitment to
driving privacy protections and programs within the company and throughout
its industry.

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