LAS VEGAS: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella renewed calls for the US government to reform its surveillance regime this week, claiming that the loss of trust over the PRISM revelations is harming global technology companies.
Nadella made his comments during a panel discussion at HP’s Discover user event in Las Vegas, where he revealed that when he meets with government representatives, the main issue he wants to discuss is surveillance.
“The one thing that comes to mind for me, which is top of mind in fact, is the reform of the surveillance regime,” Nadella said.
“If you think about what is the fundamental role of the government, it’s to be able to create trust. Trust with its citizens, trust between nations. In particular the United States has to take a real approach where we regain that trust.”
Nadella said the current situation is causing friction for Microsoft and other technology giants when trying to do business on a global scale.
“If you think about HP, Intel and Microsoft, we’re global companies and in order to be able to thrive in a global world we need our government to have a policy that creates great trust with its own citizens, but also citizens of the world and other nations,” he told delegates.
“Until we can bring some modicum of process of law into how governments can discover data that we store, what jurisdiction does the US government have over customers’ data that is not in fact resident in the United States, these are hard challenges that we need to bring some amount of stability to.
“They can’t be unknowns because that’s what creates the trust issue. Right now I would say it’s a cause of friction and all you got to do is go outside the United States and talk to customers, it’s top of mind for them. We have to be able to solve that.”
Nadella said regaining this trust over surveillance and data privacy was as important for keeping the US a competitive nation as “enlightened” immigration and education policies.
Nadella’s comments this week echo previous calls made by Microsoft legal lead Brad Smith on US government surveillance practices, and other technology firms such as Google and Facebook.