Microsoft’s chief legal officer, Brad Smith, made an announcement through his blog that both the US and the EU government should work toward guaranteeing the protection of data of the citizens. The main focus is put on protecting the personal data of people even outside the borders of their country, when they go abroad. Brad Smith announced the four steps that the governments need to take in order to protect the privacy of the user data on his blog. The point is to allow data transfers outside of the borders of one country with the necessary security measures, in a legal and safe way.
Trans-Atlantic agreement suggested by Microsoft:
Microsoft is a strong supporter of moving legal rights from one country to another along with the data. To further explain this, when one person from the EU comes to the US, the data stored on the US servers should be treated according to the EU laws. The agreement should work the other way around as well. The Microsoft representative suggests that the US and the EU make an agreement that creates a process of asking permission from the foreign country to access the data. In other words, if one country wants to get access to someone’s data, first they need to make sure the process complies with the internal laws and then ask permission from the other country. The foreign country reserves the right to either accept or decline the request for accessing data.
Microsoft urges asking the companies for the data
Currently the US government asks third party providers for the data of a certain person. Instead, Microsoft suggests asking the company that owns the data. It is easier for the government to ask for the data needed from, for example, a cloud storage provider than going personally to the company. However, Microsoft strongly believes that getting a warrant and personally going to the right company is a much better suited and lawful option than doing things the easy way.
The idea behind Microsoft’s efforts
The main reason why Microsoft is promoting this idea is that many businesses in EU have stopped seeing the US government as trustworthy partner. Since the government of the United States has the right to go directly to the service providers and ask for data the EU puts on a defensive approach. Microsoft suggests that both government leave the service providers and Microsoft out of the messy business and go directly to the responsible party when looking for certain type of information. Governments can easily access all data from the citizens, leaving them vulnerable and unprotected. Lots of times the government has been gagging service providers to secretly give them private information, which breaks the privacy rights of the citizens. That is also applied for corporate customers of Microsoft. At the moment Microsoft demand protection of its corporate customers and demands their privacy intact.