The Redmond doctrine

Lessons from Microsoft’s corporate foreign policy

11.9.2019

More and more Big Tech firms are implementing 'corporate foreign policies'. What is Microsoft's approach?

Lessons from Microsoft’s corporate foreign policy

The tech firms, too, are adapting—none more so than Microsoft. Mr Smith presides over an operation comparable in size to the foreign office of a mid-sized country. Its 1,500 employees work in departments like “Law Enforcement and National Security” or “Digital Diplomacy Group”. It has outposts in 56 countries, sending regular cables to headquarters in Redmond, near Seattle. Mr Smith is as itinerant as a foreign minister. In one year he visited 22 countries and met representatives of 40 governments.

It is not all idle talk, either. In 2013 Microsoft refused to hand over emails that sat on a server in Ireland to America’s feds in a drug-trafficking case, and successfully defended its decision in court—setting political wheels in motion that led America’s Congress to adopt a law allowing tech firms to challenge such warrants if they fall foul of another country’s rules. It implemented changes required by the EU’s tough new privacy law globally, helping the rules become a worldwide standard for many companies—and indeed countries. In 2017 Mr Smith proposed a “Digital Geneva Convention”, an international treaty to protect civilians against state-sponsored cyber-attacks in times of peace. Last May he helped launch the “Christchurch Call”, a pledge by 17 countries and eight tech firms to “eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”. Google and Facebook signed it. Apple (and America) did not.

Read more: The Economist

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H.R. McMaster out, John Bolton inPresident Donald Trump has sacked John Bolton, his third national security adviser since taking office. Mr Bolton is a ferocious war hawk and defender of the Monroe Doctrine. Our story from when he was first appointed in 2018: If this one can go down, any can except baby girl. John Bolton is evil! charliewwells Overjoyed to read this, as I have always felt JohnBolton is a very dangerous man. Huge question though: could his replacement be even worse?

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