Safety and Security

Microsoft CEO: Data Privacy Is A ‘Human Right’

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently called data privacy a “human right,” urging tech companies to do all they could to protect users from cyber threats.

During a speech at the Microsoft Future Decoded conference in London, Nadella highlighted three major areas that all tech companies need to focus on: privacy, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) ethics.

“All of us will have to think about the digital experiences we create to really treat privacy as a human right,” Nadella said, according to CNBC.

Nadella added that common citizens and small businesses are most vulnerable to cyber threats.

“We need to use our collective prowess and power to protect these most vulnerable of populations, and it requires not just our industry but also nation states to be part of that,” he said.

Nadella also noted that companies should look into creating ethical standards around AI to protect users from the unexpected consequences of this new technology.

“When you have some AI capability and it’s trained for one purpose but used for another purpose, that’s an unethical use of it,” he said.

Nadella went on to praise Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the recently enacted European Union regulation that aims to boost personal data privacy rights.

“GDPR as a piece of legislation, a piece of regulation, is a great start,” Nadella said. “We think about it as something that sets the standard, the bar, for how people need to think about privacy worldwide.”

Nadella isn’t the only top executive impressed with the law. Apple CEO Tim Cook also recently praised GDPR, calling for similar federal privacy regulation in the U.S.

And it’s been reported that the Trump Administration wants to figure out what “a federal approach to online data privacy should look like.” Gail Slater, President Trump’s special assistant for technology, has already met with industry groups about the topic — meetings that included discussions of “ways to put in place guardrails for the use of personal data.”


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