4.1) By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all is critical to creating sustainable and growing societies that enable opportunities for everyone to achieve more. In today’s world, that cannot happen without access to ICTs – specifically ubiquitous, robust, and affordable access to the Internet and all of the information that connectivity makes available. Students without this access are at a real disadvantage without the ability to benefit from the most up-to-date content and experiences that are available through the Internet. As part of its affordable access initiative, Microsoft works with partners around the world to deploy cost-effective connectivity solutions for schools and communities to address this problem. Through these projects 104 k-12 schools and 9 universities on 5 continents have been connected to the Internet, covering a population of over 400,000 people. The first of these projects, connecting Gakawa Secondary School in Nanyuki, Kenya, launched in 2013 – connecting its students to the wider world for the first time. According to the school principle, since the program launched “students’ academic performance has shot up and their grades improved greatly in National Exams (KCSE) unlike the past.” This problem is not only in developing countries. In Virginia, USA, schools are connected, but many students have no connectivity at home to help with homework. The Virginia project is focused on extending the coverage from the schools into the surrounding community.
8.8) Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
Microsoft developed and sponsored an e-learning tool in collaboration with End Human Trafficking Now and UN.GIFT. The online training program is created for business leaders, managers and employees to help them understand what human trafficking is, identify where it poses a risk to their business, and point to actions they can take to address this risk. As such, the collaboration proactively supports the rule of law by advancing international standards.
16.a) Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacities at all levels, in particular in developing countries, for preventing violence and combating terrorism and crime
Microsoft developed a tool – PhotoDNA – which creates something like a fingerprint of an image which can be compared with the signatures of other images to find copies. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and online service providers such as Microsoft and Facebook currently use PhotoDNA to help find, report and eliminate some of the worst known images of child pornography online. The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has partnered to make Microsoft PhotoDNA image matching technology available to law enforcement at no cost to help enhance their child sex abuse investigations, particularly through its integration into the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), a collaborative global law enforcement program which helps law enforcement agencies follow hundreds of suspects at a time and eliminate duplication, making it more efficient for the agencies to follow up on leads, collect evidence and build cases against suspected child pornographers. CETS is currently used by agencies in Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
16.b) Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development and protect fundamental freedoms
Microsoft has publicly advocated for marriage equality in places in which it has facilities and employees. It has joined various major local and global companies to publicly support the passage of legislation recognizing marriage for same-sex couples, including in its home country in North America and globally. Such efforts included publicizing the business case for supporting marriage equality on its blog, writing letters of support and submitting a ‘friends of the court’ brief to the Supreme Court of the country to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage. The company’s actions are based on the conviction that discrimination of any kind is a business issue affecting morale and productivity and the company’s access to talent.