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Satya Nadella says he found no gender pay gap at his company, but adds that more work needs to be done to increase workplace equality.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he's learned a lot since making some widely criticized comments on women's pay.
Earlier this month at a conference focused on women and tech, he suggested women shouldn't ask for a raise and instead believe the system will take care of them. Now, ahead of the company's earnings report Thursday, the CEO again worked to smooth over the controversy brought on by those comments.
Speaking earlier this month at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, he was asked what advice he'd offer women who were uncertain how to approach their supervisors about a raise or promotion. He said, "It's not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along."
Nadella, who took over as CEO in February, said in the Monday interviews that he answered the question from the narrow focus of his own experience. He said it was wrong to suggest anyone facing bias shouldn't address it, adding that it is important to forcefully take action against biases so workplaces can be more equal.
"What struck me most even since then," he told USA Today, "is as I talk to other senior women and generally anyone, and their stories of how, for example, quote unquote, the system has actually not worked for them. And when you hear that and you sort of really recognize what a raw nerve my comments [touched], especially around being passive, [it] makes no sense."
He added that he looked into the pay gap at Microsoft and found no disparity, with jobs with the same title and level having a "tight band" of 0.5 percent difference between then. He added, though, that more work needs to be done to make the tech industry more of a meritocracy.
The CEO last week sent out a memo to staff saying the company is launching a diversity initiative to increase training in making the workplace more inclusive.
Gender equality in the workforce has become a contentious issue in Silicon Valley, with many tech companies, including Microsoft, releasing diversity reports that detail the unbalanced makeup of their workforces. For Microsoft, women make up 29 percent of its worldwide workforce, but only 17 percent of its tech workforce.
To stop terrorists and other criminals, cell phones should have encryption backdoors to enable US government surveillance, argues FBI Director James Comey.
Cell phone encryption will prevent the federal government from stopping terrorists and child molesters unless the government is given special access, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told a Washington, DC, think tank on Thursday.
Comey, who noted that "both real-time communication and stored data are increasingly encrypted," said that the trend by service providers to encrypt their customer data could prevent the government from lawfully pursuing criminals.
"Justice may be denied, because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive," Comey said in his prepared remarks at the Brookings Institute. He explained that while Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) from 1994 mandated that telephone companies build wiretapping backdoors into their equipment, no such law forces new communication companies to do the same.
However, he didn't mention that CALEA was expanded from its original mandate to include broadband Internet and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems like Skype in 2004.
Comey called out the default encryption in Apple's iOS 8, and the optional Android encryption that will become the default for that operating system when Android 5.0 Lollipop is released next month, as blocking law enforcement from fully gathering evidence against suspects. He said that the solution was for tech firms to build "front-doors" on consumer cell phones and smartphones.
"We aren't seeking a back-door approach," Comey said, referring to a common term for encryption that has been intentionally weakened. "We want to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by law," including court orders, he said.
The spying scandal that kicked off when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified surveillance documents has seen tech titans including Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook scramble to build tougher encryption into their products. Google's Eric Schmidt warned that the spying will "break the Internet."
The current fight over how to secure customer data isn't the first time that tech firms and the US government have gone to war over encryption. In the 1990s, the "crypto wars" saw tech companies and industry advocates force the US government to repeal laws that deemed cryptography a weapon.
While evoking imagery of children at play and innocents exonerated of false accusations thanks to FBI investigations unencumbered by encryption, Comey derided concerns by the tech community that weakening encryption made devices more susceptible to cyber-criminal attacks.
He acknowledged that "adversaries will exploit any vulnerability they find," but that those exploits introduced by a backdoor could be mitigated by "developing intercept solutions during the design phase," he said.
Cryptography expert and University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze disagreed with that assumption. Comey's speech, he said on Twitter, "didn't merely dismiss or minimize the technical risks of back doors, it completely ignored them."
Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union's principal technologist on its Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said that Comey's insistence on weakening encryption opens the data to "foreign governments and criminals," he said, "whether you call it a 'front door' or a 'back door.'"
Comey's speech appears to want to change that. The FBI didn't return a request for comment.
Google declined to comment specifically on Comey's statements, but reiterated its support for encryption. "People previously used safes and combination locks to keep their information secure -- now they use encryption. It's why we have worked hard to provide this added security for our users," a Google spokesperson said.
Dropbox has thrown cold water on media reports that claimed the cloud storage service had been hacked, instead indicating that it was another service that had been victimized.
Those reports came after an anonymous hacker made several posts on Pastebin.com and asked for Bitcoin donations with a link to an account. The hacker also posted hundreds of account emails and passwords, many of which were weak with simple, six-character-minimum words or numerical codes.
"As more BTC is donated, More pastebin pastes will appear," one Pastebin post read, though only two transactions for a grand total of 0.0002 Bitcoins had transpired as of press time.
In a Reddit thread about the purported Dropbox hack, several Reddit members claimed that some of the passwords still worked, but on Monday, Dropbox flatly denied that its service was hacked. Instead, the company announced that the stolen credentials were lifted from a different, unnamed service.
"Recent news articles claiming that Dropbox was hacked aren’t true. Your stuff is safe," wrote Dropbox's Anton Mityagin in a blog post. "The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox. Attackers then used these stolen credentials to try to log in to sites across the internet, including Dropbox. We have measures in place to detect suspicious login activity and we automatically reset passwords when it happens."
Mityagin also stated that Dropbox checked "a subsequent list of usernames and passwords" that had been posted online and confirmed that the credentials are not associated with Dropbox accounts.
Despite refuting the hack, Mityagin encouraged Dropbox customers to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) and to avoid using the same passwords for multiple services.
Dropbox has offered 2FA services since 2012, when the company rolled out the security feature it after a similar episode earlier that year where usernames and passwords stolen from other services were used to access a small number of Dropbox accounts. One of those accounts belonged to a Dropbox employee, which hackers used to spam user email addresses contained within a company project document.
The lack of two-factor authentication protection has been cited as a major weak point following incidents such as the recent Apple iCloud hack, where hackers were able to crack the passwords of several female celebrities and expose personal pictures and videos stored on the cloud service. After the incident, Apple extended 2FA services for all data stored in iCloud; previously, the service didn't cover such areas as accessing users' Photo Streams, restoring an iCloud backup to a new device, and making iTunes, App Store and iBookstore purchases from a new device.
Joe Siegrist, CEO of password management vendor LastPass in Fairfax, Va., said users in both the enterprise and consumer spaces should enable 2FA for all online accounts, but noted that adoption has lagged in the consumer space.
"We're seen higher penetration of 2FA in the enterprise space but we don't see that happening in the consumer space yet," Siegrist said.
In addition to enabling 2FA, Siegrist said users should stop using the same passwords across multiple services and websites, a common practice that puts both consumer and corporate sites at risk.
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