June 11, 2020
With over 40 million Americans out of work, a global pandemic and widespread civil unrest, the role of technology in shaping our society and its future is of the utmost importance. Brad Smith, Microsoft president and co-author of the bestseller, “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age,” joined Washington Post columnist David Ignatius to discuss how we can harness innovation to promote inclusive economic recovery, stop the spread of disease and support social justice.
Microsoft president Brad Smith says the company does not sell facial recognition software to police departments in the U.S. today and will not sell the tools to police until there is a national law in place “grounded in human rights.” He called for a national law to regulate facial-recognition technology saying, ‘We need Congress to act, not just tech companies alone, that is the only way that we will guarantee that we will protect the lives of people.’
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Microsoft President Brad Smith says the company is thinking about ways to address racial injustice and other issues affecting minority communities at this time of civil unrest. ‘We need to use this moment to inspire ourselves to take sustained action and persist,’ he said.
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Microsoft President Brad Smith says nationalism will be a geopolitical factor throughout the decade and that a concerted partnership by governments and civil society will be the key to tackling the great problems facing the world.
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Brad Smith
President, Microsoft
Brad Smith is the president of Microsoft, where he leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals in 56 countries. He serves as the company’s chief legal officer and leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection between technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and artificial intelligence, human rights, immigration, philanthropy and environmental sustainability. Described by the New York Times as “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large,” Smith has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and other governments on key policy issues. Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. This past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing five lawsuits against the U.S. government on these issues.
David Ignatius
The Washington Post
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