Recently, John Frank, Vice President of EU Government Affairs, Microsoft joined Dimitar Lilkov of the Martens Centre for an episode of the “Brussels Bytes” podcast on “The European society at a technical juncture”.
They cover a lot of ground in the podcast, starting their conversation on how technology policy is shaped both in Washington D.C. and Brussels, and on what issues companies such as Microsoft engage with policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic.
One central focus for Microsoft in particular is the regulation of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology. John Frank points out that he believes ethics are essential as a foundation and added, “society is not going to accept technology that doesn’t reflect our social values.” Microsoft has taken the position that facial recognition technology needs to be regulated in order to resolve risks inherent in the technology, such as bias and its potential use for mass surveillance. John clarifies that these issues should not lead to an overall ban of all use cases of facial recognition technology in Europe, but be considered on a case-by-case basis.
On the protection of democratic processes, another focus of Microsoft, he cautions that nation-states will continue to use cyberspace to advance their goals in ways many of us would find inappropriate. John argues that technology providers need to do their part to protect our democratic societies and highlights technologies such as Microsoft’s ElectionGuard, which can help protect elections from certain threats.
And on the topic of law enforcement access to data stored by Cloud companies, John cautions that while new EU regulation must help law enforcement to swiftly get access in order to be able to protect the public, strong fundamental rights protections also need to be included in order to prevent abuse easier access to data.
For more, listen to the full episode below.
If you’d like to learn more about any of the content John Frank mentioned during the podcast, please follow the links below:
- Our approach to artificial intelligence
- Facial recognition: It’s time for action
- WATCH: Microsoft #BookTalk with Brad Smith on “Tools and Weapons”
- E-Evidence: Robust fundamental rights protections are needed for European law enforcement authorities’ access to data
- Elections under threat: securing democracy in cyberspace
- Protecting democratic elections through secure, verifiable voting
- Paris Call for trust and security in cyberspace
- Cultivating a collective defense against cyberthreats