Brad Smith, President, Microsoft (virtually)
Led by: Eline Chivot, Senior Digital Advisor, European People's Party, Brussels
Brad Smith, President of Microsoft spoke about bridging the gap on data agenda between the US and EU. The world runs on digital technologies and data. It is going to be vital each and every year. The issues are playing a visible and explicit role across the Atlantic.
The flow of data between the AUS and EU is more important than the flow of people. But we really need the flow of data and people to continue moving on-and-on basis. To do that we need to recognize certain things. We need common and consistent rules that will respect the values on both sides. In Europe, data needs to be protected that is consistent with European values and European law. However, he reminded the American fellows that their roots also come from the European land. Therefore, it is crucial to face specific challenges and take them one by one, recognizing that some of them are hard, but we need to make progress. He also touched upon the Biden administration, rooting for fresh and new dialogues. The main priorities that should be addressed are to come to terms with issues that are front and centre and lead to decision-making. We are dealing with something that is one step shorter than a crisis, the ability to move data across the Atlantic, the ability of European companies doing business in the U.S and vice-versa. He also mentioned that we need to act with ambitions. Meaning, we put in place longer-term, deeper and more stable agreements between governments. This can stabilize the situation. But we still need to look broader than that. There might be times when the US will have to consider statutory changes and rebuild the foundation and build a trust that the transatlantic relationship really requires. Mr Smith believes there is a way in the tech industry to support and ensure more resilience and cybersecurity. He said, there is no digital sovereignty without cybersecurity. So the key is to strengthen cybersecurity around the world. The tech companies need to be improving and strengthening the features that help to protect and keep developing these features to be easier for the users. The second thing is we need help from governments and organizations, small and big businesses, NGOs to use short and critical last-step features so people can manage. Run cloud services and no patches. Using protecting passwords, logins and improve our online habits.