Safety, privacy and the Internet paradox: solutions at hand and the need for new trans-Atlantic rules

Today at the Center for European Policy Studies, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs, Microsoft, delivered remarks and participated in a panel discussion on the subject of Trust, data and national sovereignty: solutions for a connected world.

Other panelists included:

  • Jan Albrecht, Member of the European Parliament
  • Renate Nikolay, Head of Cabinet, Vĕra Jourová’s Cabinet, DG Justice, European Commission
  • Michał Boni, Member of the European Parliament
  • Alexander Seger, Head of Data Protection and Cybercrime Division, Council of Europe

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In his remarks Brad emphasized that:

  • 2015 is a year for solutions. The issues of the last two months, including the hacking of Sony and the attacks in Paris, should create a sense of urgency for all of us. This is a year that calls for steps that will adapt laws to the technology that exists today. Many of the relevant laws in Europe and the United States were written in the 1980s and ‘90s, and they’re badly in need of updating. The opportunity to take new steps is before us, and it calls for people to come to the table and start to work through issues that, while difficult, are more important than ever.
  • National laws need to stop at the water’s edge, but the rule of law needs to cross borders. Europe and the United States should work together to forge modern trans-Atlantic rules that will enable law enforcement to obtain information needed for lawful investigations across borders, but to do so in a way that increases privacy protections for citizens and protects free expression. Europe and the United States need to play an important role on these issues together.
  • In democratic societies the appropriate way to strike the balance between privacy, free expression, and public safety is through application of the rule of law rather than by asking private companies to make decisions about where to draw the lines. The internet and technology needs to be subject to the law; they can’t exist outside it. But we need good laws that are designed to ensure that the global nature of the Internet is not sacrificed in the process.

Here’s a link to Brad’s remarks as prepared (pdf) :
Safety, Privacy, and the Internet Paradox: 2015 and the Need for New Trans-Atlantic Rules

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