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Microsoft wants Washington state to double down on infrastructure and privacy

Microsoft will press the Washington state legislature to prioritize privacy laws and infrastructure enhancements this yr, in accordance to a blog post penned by Brad Smith, the corporate’s president and authorized chief.

Microsoft revealed its legislative wishlist Monday, outlining the corporate’s coverage targets in its dwelling state for 2019. Every year, Smith places out a highway map of coverage priorities that Microsoft will throw its weight behind.

Right here’s what’s on Microsoft’s 2019 agenda:

Housing is a key space of focus for Microsoft this yr. The Redmond, Wash., tech big announced a $500 million fund final month that can spend money on middle- and low-income housing and present grants to homeless service suppliers. Microsoft is urging the legislature to make investments a further $200 million within the state’s Housing Belief Fund for low-income houses. The corporate can also be urgent native governments within the state to re-zone neighborhoods to permit for extra density and asking the state to rethink insurance policies that create limitations to growth.

As well as to housing, Microsoft wants Washington to enhance entry to broadband web for rural residents. Microsoft’s objective is to shut the agricultural broadband hole throughout the nation by means of its Airband Initiative. The corporate wants Washington to create a State Broadband Workplace and make investments $25 million to create a grant program that might encourage broadband growth to underserved areas.

Lastly, Microsoft will proceed its push for a high-speed rail line connecting Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, B.C. Microsoft donated $300,000 to assist examine whether or not high-speed rail was possible and “confirmed this service could possibly be operated cost-effectively,” in accordance to Smith’s weblog publish. Now the corporate is backing Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s $3 million proposal to set up a proper partnership between the three cities and transfer ahead with a high-speed rail line.

Microsoft is one of the most vocal supporters of privacy laws working its approach by means of the Washington state Home and Senate. The payments would give residents of the state extra details about and management over knowledge that’s collected on them. It could additionally require corporations that develop facial recognition expertise, together with Microsoft, to make their software program obtainable for third-party testing, amongst different rules.

“There is no such thing as a extra motive for an organization within the facial recognition market to object to third-party testing than there’s motive for an vehicle firm to object to testing the airbags in a brand new automobile,” Smith writes.

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