The U.S. Version of GDPR puts Sillicon Valley in Disarray

Tim Hsu, Asset Management Director Global Perspectives


The EU General Data Protection Regulation () is regarded as one of the strictest data protection and privacy regulations in the world. In the age of internet, top tech players rely on collecting and analysing consumer data to develop better technology and better service, or in other words, to make more money. However, the Facebook data breach incident shows that with millions of people around the world start registering and using a particular online service, personal data can be easily gathered and used in the wrong way, often by hackers aiming for financial profits or even geopolitical manipulations.

On Wednesday Sep 27, the Senate Commerce Committee and top executives from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter, Google and Twitter had a two and a half hour meeting on potentially passing privacy legislation, after more than a decade of inefficient debate. Although some acknowledge the government’s effort to establish a data policy, others argue that the exclusion of any non-corporate people in the meeting can be a problem.

Although top tech players show willingness and acceptance for a data policy, the degree of governance they agree on is still on the broader principles. This is understandable due to the nature of how these companies handle data differently. In addition, the senators’ ability to understand how data works is also very questionable, as perfectly shown when Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress and tried to answer several very strange questions.

“Even if Congress, Silicon Valley and consumer advocates manage to agree on basic privacy rules, Szoka says, the nitty-gritty details of how that legislation will work in the real world is the tricky part.” – Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom

Sources:
The Cybersecurity 202: Senate hearing highlights challenges of crafting national privacy law – Washington Post
Silicon Valley finally pushes for data privacy laws at Senate hearing – The Guardian