Nov 4 2014 12:00pm to Nov 4 2014 12:00pm

Privacy, Surveillance, and Rebuilding Trust in Tech

A Conversation with Microsoft GC Brad Smith and Professor Jonathan Zittrain

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT)

One of the enduring issues in cyberspace is which laws apply to online activities.  We see this most clearly today in the reaction to revelations about government surveillance:  on one hand, individuals are increasingly seeking assurances that their content is protected from government overreach, while governments want to ensure they have access to information to enforce their laws, even if that content is stored outside their borders. We see this same tension in debates over privacy protection for data placed on line by consumers.  This discussion will explore the role of law in protecting our rights in the physical world online, the complementary roles of law and technology in achieving this protection, and the need for governments to come together so that companies (and customers) don’t face conflicting legal obligations.

About Brad

Brad Smith is Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs. He leads approximately 1,100 legal, business and corporate affairs professionals spanning 55 countries and is responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, and the company’s government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft’s corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer. Brad joined Microsoft in 1993, and before becoming general counsel in 2002 he spent three years leading the LCA team in Europe, then five years serving as the deputy general counsel responsible for LCA’s teams outside the United States. [Continued]

About Jonathan

Jonathan Zittrain is the George Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at the Harvard Law School Library, and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.  His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, human computing, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education.

He performed the first large-scale tests of Internet filtering in China and Saudi Arabia, and as part of the OpenNet Initiative co-edited a series of studies of Internet filtering by national governments: Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering; Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace; and Access Contested: Security, Identity, and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Board of Advisors for Scientific American.  He has served as a Trustee of the Internet Society and as a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum, which named him a Young Global Leader. He was a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Federal Communications Commission, and previously chaired the FCC’s Open Internet Advisory Committee. His book The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It predicted the end of general purpose client computing and the corresponding rise of new gatekeepers.  That and other works may be found at <>.

Related Readings from Brad Smith

  • Revelations about NSA surveillance of internet communications caused a significant reaction across the tech industry to strengthen privacy protections.
  • Microsoft has launched a number of legal challenges to the U.S government including challenging a search warrant for seeking customer data outside the U.S.
  • Brad Smith has been on the forefront of this debate in the U.S. and internationally with the New York Times calling him, “the tech world’s envoy”
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Copyright License: 
Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported

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Last updated date

November 9, 2015