With the advent of mobile devices and cloud services, technology has never been more powerful or more personal. But a year after the “Snowden revelations” began, issues of privacy, trust, and security are increasingly front-and-center and there is an important debate about the best way to balance the vital issues of personal liberty and national security in the digital age.
The United States has successfully adhered to the principles of the Fourth Amendment even as earlier waves of technology innovation – like the mail and the telegraph – transformed communications. But what is the role of the Fourth Amendment in an era of cloud computing? How do laws and regulations need to change to give people the confidence to adopt powerful new technologies, while also ensuring national security? How should the United States work with other countries on these issues? In a networked world, how does America think about national borders and national sovereignty?
These issues are also being debated around the world. In numerous capital cities, there are calls for measures to increase “data sovereignty,” including requirements to process and store and internet data within national borders. What is the larger impact on technology and national security if governments adopted these kind of measures? What would be the impact of a patchwork of contradictory laws and regulations? Has the American government done enough to respond — or are their actions increasing the chances that other governments will take these steps? And how can American companies maintain trust in the digital economy and continue to drive innovation, jobs, and skills development?
On June 25, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted an event to explore the future of global technology, privacy, and data protection with Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, to address these and other questions.
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