Amazon, Google and Twitter on privacy laws

Data privacy has taken center stage in recent years, as the European Union and the State of California each passed consumer protection laws that paved the way for large-scale change. And while large tech companies always adapt to a growing patchwork of regional regulations, they are also bracing for a possible federal data privacy law in the United States.

Google and Twitter’s privacy officers, as well as Amazon’s trust manager for Alexa, discussed the privacy landscape at CES 2021 on Tuesday, each calling for new regulations while saying tech companies must do. a better job to be transparent in their data collection. efforts.

During the discussion, Google Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright confirmed that the company remains on track to phase out third-party cookies from its Chrome browser by 2022. Here are the topics the three CTOs are discussing focused on the future of privacy regulations in Europe and the United States. States.

European standard

The European Union has long placed a value on privacy and data protection, two enshrined rights in the EU Treaties and in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. But Enright said the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 was a pivotal moment for all companies operating globally.

“GDPR… has been a tremendous catalyst for businesses around the world to adapt their privacy programs to a more European perspective,” he said.

When asked, Amazon’s director of trust for Alexa Anne Toth said the regulation has dramatically improved general awareness of data privacy. “I’m not sure if the GDPR has changed much for European customers,” she said, highlighting Europe’s long-standing privacy commitments. “I think it had a more global effect on the people involved – the individuals – who live in countries that do not have omnibus data protection laws.”

The stars align in the United States

With the arrival of the Biden administration, the United States may soon have a federal data privacy law.

Twitter’s privacy officer Damien Kieran is “optimistic” about its adoption in the next two years, calling it “late.” He also said that cross-border data disputes between the EU and the US will add an additional imperative, although this can be resolved by executive order if not by law.

Enright agrees “the stars are better aligned” now to push through legislation, particularly after the state of California privacy laws, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the more recent California Privacy were passed. Rights Act.

“If history is any lesson, it’s going to be a catalyst for a tremendous amount of legislative activity at the state level over the next two years,” he said. “It tends to greatly increase the odds if we can develop the political will at the federal level.”

The consequences of global fragmentation

The leaders deplored the efforts of regional regulation and their concern vis-a-vis the “balkanization” of the Internet.

Twitter’s Kieran said disparate regulations have the potential to disrupt the degree of “overall experience” a platform can offer. He doesn’t want the user experience to change from one geography to another.

“I think the challenge of what we see with the Privacy Shield or the localization of data outside the European context is this potential for balkanization of the Internet, balkanization of services, localization of services”, a- he said, saying it was a challenge. for both businesses and consumers.

“Twitter is supposed to be a place where I can participate in the global conversation,” Kieran said. “If my global conversation is limited to data that is in the 28 countries of Europe, it’s not a global conversation, it’s a European conversation.”

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