Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft was in a virtual interactive session with Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao in BioAsia 2021.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
news Privacy Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 20:17

Describing privacy as a human right, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday said he is hoping for a global regulation on safety and privacy of data that would make sure that tech products and services are safe to use. Nadella also noted that the tech industry has to keep privacy and security in mind while designing products and services.

In a virtual interactive session with Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao as part of BioAsia 2021, Nadella said the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe accelerated digital transformation. In the Q&A format discussion, the minister raised concerns about the privacy and security of users using technology like fitness tracking devices and social media.

“Those who build these tools need to take responsibility to ensure that we build by design for privacy, security, AI ethics and internet safety. These are things we can’t wait for regulation, we have to design from an engineering and design ethos perspective built into our core. We can't build it and see what breaks and then fix it, that attitude is not tolerated in any other industry. It should not be tolerated in the tech industry,” said Nadella, who added that Microsoft tries to apply design principles and engineering processes aimed at ensuring that their products and services are respecting privacy and security.

Nadella said he looks forward to a world where just as there are food safety laws and drug safety laws, there will similarly be rules and regulations on data. “Hopefully there is a global norm around," he said, responding to a query on whether the security and privacy concerns can be regulated.

"One thing that I would hope for is that we don't fragment. We are able to, whether on privacy or safety, bring together a set of global rules that will allow all of us to both comply and make sure that what we build is safe to use," Nadella said.

He said regulations are in place and initiatives such as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are spreading worldwide. Nadella also opined that the Right to Privacy will soon be adopted globally as a right.

He suggested that companies should design and build products keeping in mind the privacy of the user and no lackadaisical attitude in this regard should be tolerated.

Citing data pertaining to patients healthcare data, he said it should ultimately benefit the infirm.

On the post-pandemic working conditions, he said the situation has pushed for more flexibility in terms of work sites and collaboration.

"I think collaboration, learning and well-being are fundamentally the things that are going to transform how we think about work while giving people a lot more flexibility," he said.

The startup category has already shown tremendous potential in bringing in digital enablement in the medical industry and it is not just benefiting any specific segment but every possible individual in the country across cities and villages, he added.

Minister KTR raised concerns about tracking devices, social media platforms, data security and privacy, and asked Nadella how can governments address these concerns going forward.

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