Brad Smith speaks on rules for the digital economy at DLD Munich

“We need a new generation of law; one that will match technology, ensure technology is global, and ensure people’s rights are respected.” This was the rallying cry from Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, speaking at the DLD conference in Munich yesterday.

Smith joined David Kirkpatrick, founder, host, and CEO of Techonomy, to discuss the rights and responsibilities of global technology companies in the cloud era, and to share Microsoft’s standpoint on the role of technology as a force for social good.

Smith stressed that the first step is acknowledging that “our products and services are having a huge impact on the world.” An impact which is often positive, but which can also create challenges for some people. He followed by saying that we need to start thinking about how to ensure that “cloud computing is trusted by people, is responsible, and genuinely contributes to an era of inclusive economic growth.” You can read more about Microsoft’s commitment to creating a trusted, responsible, and inclusive cloud here.

Trust in particular was a recurring theme throughout the panel, with Smith reflecting on how recent court cases have shown the need for a better balance between the global nature of technology and the importance of national laws protecting people’s rights. To bridge the gap, he concluded, we first need to modernize national laws, so they better reflect the reality of technological progress. Once that’s done, like-minded governments can work together to create treaties that work for the digital era.

Smith also recognized that the technology sector has a wider opportunity to foster social progress in Europe by accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation. Whether it’s investing in digital skills and computer science education, supporting startups across the continent, or playing an active part in discussions around digital policy, Smith expressed his belief that we “should do our part”.  Only in this way can we help every European feel the benefits of technology.

DLD Munich runs until tomorrow, with more than 1,000 participants and 70 separate panel sessions – including a “fireside chat” with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sharing his thoughts on artificial intelligence.

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