Microsoft’s top legal gun decries privacy "arms race"
The conflict between snooping governments seeking to defeat encryption and users demanding ever more robust privacy tools has turned into an arms race — and it’s time for arms control talks, Microsoft’s general counsel said on Tuesday.
Resolving that conflict requires a new consensus on how to balance public safety and personal privacy, Brad Smith said in a forum at Harvard Law School. “Ultimately there are only two ways to better protect peoples privacy: stronger technology or better laws,” he said.
In an expansive conversation about privacy and rebuilding trust in technology after revelations of widespread government spying, Smith talked about Microsoft’s first “sea-change” moment. It came in the year after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, when Microsoft, among other Internet companies and telcos, was asked to voluntarily share data with U.S. law enforcement.