Remarkable piece by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer (subhead: “Solving the New Privacy Rubik’s Cube”):
This transformation helps explain why individuals in the tech
sector increasingly have been talking about privacy. Just a week
before the European decision, Apple CEO Tim Cook recognized
explicitly that privacy is a fundamental human right. I said the
same thing on behalf of Microsoft in a speech in Brussels this
past January. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said clearly over a year
ago that we want technology to advance, but timeless values should
endure. And privacy is a timeless value that deserves to endure.
But privacy rights cannot endure if they change every time data
moves from one location to another. Individuals should not lose
their fundamental rights simply because their personal information
crosses a border. While never stated quite this directly, this
principle underlies every aspect of the European Court’s decision,
and it makes sense.
Add to this the daily reality that personal data is often moved
not by individuals, but by companies and governments. Typically,
individuals are not even aware of where their information is being
moved or stored. It is untenable to expect people to rely on a
notion of privacy protection that changes every time someone else
moves their information around. No fundamental right can rest on
such a shaky foundation.