As an extension of its ongoing effort to improve the security of its products, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced that is has formed an academic advisory board to offer advice and comments on Trustworthy Computing issues.The board comprises 14 professors from universities all over the world and includes some of the best-known names in computer security research. Among the members are Jeannette Wing of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Fred Schneider of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and Eugene Spafford of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.Microsoft officials said they envision using the group as a sounding board for ideas around its Trustworthy Computing program and will depend on it for honest critiques and analysis. The Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, as its called, is having its first meeting this week at Microsofts headquarters in Redmond, Wash.Board members say theyre hoping to provide more focused and credible advice to Microsoft than the typical generic criticisms that the companys products need to be more secure."Im hopeful that this board will provide an objective and informed voice on security matters, and that its a voice Microsoft can and will embrace," said Schneider in an article explaining the mission of the board, which is posted on Microsofts Web site. "The entire industry needs to place a higher priority on building trustworthy systems, even though this means buildings systems that have fewer features and take longer to deploy because of increased development times."The board will meet twice a year and will be briefed by Microsoft on future product plans from the Security Business Unit, ongoing security initiatives and other issues. The group will also discuss the companys efforts surrounding its Windows Platform Security Initiative formerly code-named Palladium on which it is working with Intel Corp.The other members of the board are Martin Abadi of the University of California at Santa Cruz; Elisa Bertino of the University of Milan in Italy; Dawson Engler of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.; Virgil Gligor of the University of Maryland in College Park; Richard Kemmerer of the University of California at Santa Barbara; Chris Mitchell of Royal Holloway, University of London; Gregory Morrisett of Cornell; David Patterson of the University of California at Berkeley; Neeraj Suri of TU Darmstadt University in Germany; Vijay Varadharajan of Macquarie University in Australia; and James Whittaker of the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. Microsoft also formed a privacy committee for the board. The committee is made up of five law professors.

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