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Microsoft President Says Tech Industry Should Be 'Neutral Digital Switzerland'

RSA Conference: Brad Smith also says the world needs a "Digital Geneva Convention" to establish the international rules for nation-state cyber conflict.

Sara Peters

February 15, 2017

1 Min Read

RSA CONFERENCE - SAN FRANCISCO - Amid a cacophony of discussions about retaliation for nation-state cyberattacks here, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, today, took a different tack - urging the global tech industry to stay politically neutral, regardless of where they're headquartered.

"Instead of nation-states being met by other nation-states, they are being met by us," the cybersecurity and tech sector, Smith said. "We are the first responders.

"Even in an age of rising nationalism, we need to be a neutral digital Switzerland," Smith said. "We will assist and protect customers everywhere. We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere."

The world needs to retain its trust in technology, he said, and every government, regardless of its policies, needs a government IT that it can trust.

Smith also proposed a "Digital Geneva Convention" to set the international laws and procedures for cyber conflict, as well as the establishment of a new and independent oversight organization with the international credibility to monitor and attribute cyber attacks. 

About the Author(s)

Sara Peters

Senior Editor

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad of other topics. She authored the 2009 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey and founded the CSI Working Group on Web Security Research Law -- a collaborative project that investigated the dichotomy between laws regulating software vulnerability disclosure and those regulating Web vulnerability disclosure.


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