Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft, recently published a book named, “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age”. It mentions interesting details about Microsoft’s dealings with the US government and other entities.
Smith has strongly condemned the Huawei trade ban in the book, which made headlines as soon as the book came out.
Apart from talking about interesting stuff like when Taylor Swift tried to sue Microsoft over a chatbot since it was named “Tay” (her nickname), he also talked about how an unnamed Trump advisor approached him for spying on other countries. Of course, Smith denied since ‘It would be bad for businesses’.
Smith writes that he was asked, “As an American company, why won’t you agree to help the US government spy on people in other countries?”. Further, shedding light on the situation he writes,
I pointed out that Trump Hotels had just opened a new property in the Middle East as well as down the street on Pennsylvania Avenue. Are these hotels going to spy on people from other countries who stay there? It doesn’t seem like it would be good for the family business.
The book also mentions similar ethical and legal challenges that are being faced by companies like Microsoft. He stated that President Trump was not the first one to have issues with the giant.
Even though the company denied spying on other governments, Smith claims that Microsoft has helped American intelligence agencies deal with hacking incidents and has worked with them behind the scenes for years.
As a solution, Smith proposed the establishment of basic rules and regulations which prevent unethical use of technology. He says,
Some issues may lead to global consensus and some may not. Many of today’s technology issues involve questions of privacy, free expression, and human rights that lack global support.