Microsoft CLO calls for universal digital protection

By Jason Spencer | Feb 15, 2017
The CLO of Microsoft is calling for a non-national digital sector.

Chief legal officer and president of Microsoft Corporation, Brad Smith, called for civilian use of the internet to be protected through an accord that would be settled in a fashion similar to the Geneva Convention. The call came in a digital climate where the occurrence of cyberattacks is becoming more prevalent.

Smith revealed his feelings in a blog post, releasinga manifesto that can be read with the transcript of his keynote address at the 2017 RSA Conference. During the conference, at which he spoke on Tuesday, Smith called for a codification of international regulations that would concern cyberwarfare. Of considerable importance to Smith was the establishment of an independent agency to adjudicate over and analyze cyberattacks.

"Even in a world of growing nationalism, when it comes to cybersecurity the global tech sector needs to operate as a neutral Digital Switzerland. We will assist and protect customers everywhere," explained Smith. "We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere. We need to retain the world's trust. And every government, regardless of its policies or politics, needs a national and global I T infrastructure that it can trust."

Smith pointed to the Sony hack, which many believe was perpetrated by North Korea, as evidence that civilians need protection.

"The tech sector today operates as the first responders to nation state attacks on the internet," wrote Smith. "A cyberattack by one nation-state is met initially not by a response from another nation state, but by private citizens."

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