Microsoft CEO Supports Global Enactment of GDPR-Like Legislation

In a recent interview at World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the need to introduce global legislation that makes data privacy a human right.

Nadella is a big supporter of the EU’s General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR), which started to be enforced on May 25 2018. He is hopeful something similar will be introduced in the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook also suggested a GDPR-like law should be introduced in the U.S.

After the GDPR was introduced last year, Microsoft quickly announced that it would impose EU GDPR rights worldwide. Additionally, Microsoft created a complete privacy center that lists the type of information that it collects, how the information is used and how data owners can manage this use of data.

Nadella mentioned in a speech (about privacy, data and Artificial Intelligence) that people should be in full control of their own personal information, not only in America, but across the world. There should also be a common standard for dealing with privacy.

Not long after lobbying for the introduction of more lax data protection regulations in California, Nadella is now saying that treating privacy as a basic human right must be globally accepted. He further said that there should be a common standard across the world. There should be a coming together of the Unites States, Europe and China to establish a global standard.

Companies can’t be expected to self regulate because it is hard for businesses to make certain of the proper and ethical use of private information. In the marketplace, it’s hard to say what is the right and wrong use, so any regulation is welcome.


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The US Senate is scheduled to work on GDPR-like legislation soon. California has already introduced legislation similar to GDPR in 2018 and will have six public forums about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the following months. Just last week, U.S. Senate and House of Representative committees held separate hearings to study the prospects of having national privacy legislation. Although the legislators generally agreed on the need to have federal privacy legislation, no agreement was reached on the finer points of such legislation.

Nadella made comments at a time when Microsoft is still being investigated in the Netherlands with regards to a potential GDPR breach. Allegedly, Microsoft Office was acquiring the contents of private email correspondences. The company issued a statement about their commitment to customers’ privacy and mentioned that users are in full control of their data. Microsoft ensures that its products and services, including Office ProPlus, are compliant with the GDPR and other appropriate laws. The company is looking forward to a successful resolution of the concerns of the Dutch Ministry. If found guilty, as per GDPR legislation, Microsoft could be penalized up to €20 million or 4% of its annual global turnover.