Privacy is human right, says Microsoft CEO

Privacy is human right, says Microsoft CEO

Observing that the world is becoming a computer, Indian American CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella on Monday called for greater integration of ethical values and principles that protects individuals’ privacy, human values and democracy.

“The opportunity that we see (today), the world is becoming a computer. Computing is getting embedded in every person, place and thing, every walk of life in our homes, in our cars, and our works, in and out stadiums, entertainment centres, every industry from agriculture to precision medicine, from autonomous cars to autonomous drones, from personalised retailers to personalised banking, are all being transformed,” Nadella said in his key note address to the annual Microsoft Build 2018 conference.

Addressing several thousand software developers including several from India, Nadella said if one thinks about the sheer computing power that is getting distributed and how the computing power is being used to collect data and create the rich experiences throughout our life it is pretty stunning. “That’s the opportunity,” Nadella told the developers.

Observing that these technologies are empowering everyone, Nadella said these technologies are creating equitable growth by ensuring that every industry is able to grow and create employment. “But we also have a responsibility as a tech industry to build trust in technology,” he said.

The power of technology is such that it far outstrips “our ability” to completely control it, especially when it impacts generations, he said.

As such Nadella urged developers to develop a set of principles for the choices that they make. “Because the choices we make is what's going to define the future,” he said.

“Privacy is a human right. We at Microsoft, having enshrined it as principles that ensure that we preserve human rights. We ensure that when we use data, it is to benefit the user. We ensure that the user is always in control of that data,” he said.

On preserving cyber security, he asserted that the industry needs to act with collective responsibility across the tech sector to help keep the world safe.

“We recently formed a program to protect our democracy wherein we are going to work with the campaigns, the civic society, and other constituents, so that we can secure our political process, our democratic process,” Nadella said.

Microsoft also led a consortium of tech companies to ensure citizens across the world are protected from cyber-attacks. “It's digital Geneva Convention of our times,” he said.

“Ethical AI. We need to ask ourselves, what computers can do, but what computers should,” Nadella said.