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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks with GeekWire chairman and PicMonkey CEO Jonathan Sposato, left, at the Technology Alliance luncheon in Seattle.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is calling for the U.S. government to establish a better framework of laws to create a “new equilibrium” between the privacy of personal data and the need for national security.

In an on-stage interview at the Technology Alliance annual luncheon today, Nadella was asked by Jonathan Sposato, the GeekWire chairman and PicMonkey CEO, about Microsoft’s suit against the U.S. Justice Department over the government’s regular use of secret search warrants for customer data. As Sposato noted, Microsoft is better known for being sued by the DOJ, not the other way around.

Here’s an extended excerpt from Nadella’s response to the question.

The principles that are driving our stance on privacy and security are well-established for us. We really stand for every user of our services having control over their data, being transparent about the data that’s being collected and what it’s being used for, keeping the data secure, and then being compliant with all the rules and regulations in the jurisdictions that we work in. That’s our promise.

In that context, we will fight to defend that promise. We completely recognize the government’s need to protect the security of its citizens. We absolutely think that governments have a role. Except that, if there is overreach of that, which compromises some of the enduring principles of privacy, that is when we will fight and push back and sue the government.

That’s what we are doing. We are hoping that there is a new framework of law that allows, in fact, our government of the United States to get that right balance between privacy and public safety. I think that is very important.

In fact I would say that the onus is on the United States to get that right, because we are, after all, the beacon that everyone else will look to. If we get it right, every other democracy will say, well, that’s the model. … If the U.S. and the UK and other countries, Germany and so on, can come together, establish this new equilibrium, the world will be a better place for being able to balance the legitimate needs for public safety, and the legitimate values for privacy.

See our earlier post for the full video of Nadella’s talk at the Technology Alliance event.

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