Thursday 23 January 2020 11:50 am

Microsoft chief executive calls for 'data dignity' at Davos

The chief executive of Microsoft has called for “data dignity” and that data and privacy be thought of as a human right.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Satya Nadella said: “Data dignity goes further than privacy. People’s data has a value.”

It came as part of a discussion on technology and globalisation in which the Microsoft chief executive emphasised the need for trust in technology.

“We need global norms to ensure trust in technology,” Nadella said.

It echoes calls by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who yesterday said there should be a framework to regulate artificial intelligence (AI).

She said: “The protection of a person’s digital dignity is an overriding principle.”

Microsoft president Brad Smith has also called on a regulation framework for technology.

Speaking at Davos on Tuesday he said: “We should not wait for the technology to mature before we start to put principles, and ethics, and even rules in place to govern AI”.

Technology has underpinned much of the discussion at the Davos summit this week. The UK and US have been locked in a war of words over a digital services tax.

Britain has been clear that it intends to impose the 2 per cent levy in April even after the US hinted at retaliatory tariffs.

Nadella said he was worried about barriers springing up between countries: “I would urge us to think about what would happen if we decouple the internet or trade. It will increase the transactional costs of our economy and we will all be worse off.”