Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shakes hands with Republican Richard Hudson, a North Carolina senator and member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, after concluding a hearing on Capitol Hill last Wednesday. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images What would happen if having more privacy is the new law? The European Union has already done so with its General Regulation for Data Protection , which allows users to know who has their personal information, as well as gives them the right to request existing copies or request that they be deleted. Until recently, however, the law seemed to have only limited benefits for people outside of Europe. One possible benefit for people in the United States is that companies want to extend the privacy protections of the law to users around the world. The regulation also requires companies to notify users of data breaches or thefts quickly, which means that reports of Europeans affected by a hacker They could be a precursor to similar news around the world. Now, the scope of the law in the United States could be much greater. Privacy experts say that lawmakers are increasingly likely to enact regulations in the United States and to copy some of the European Union legislation, commonly called GDPR. If they do, a new law would mark a radical change in the way the federal government addresses privacy regulations.
The change in attitude is due to the growing data scandal on Facebook, which involves the Cambridge Analytica policy consultant in the acquisition of information of the 87 million users of the social network. The new proposal to push this regulation came to the fore since last Tuesday or Wednesday, when members of Congress repeatedly asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg how he felt about the possibility of his company being regulated. . “I think if it’s a correct regulation, then yes,” he told the senators on Tuesday. A regulation that will take us to the next level Legislators have imposed, for a long time, several regulations aimed at protecting privacy. However, all have been narrowly focused. After the great hack of Equifax last September, which compromised the personal information of almost 148 million people , lawmakers submitted bills that would give consumers more control over the data that credit reporting agencies can collect about them, and they will ask companies to inform consumers about hacks and impose fines. In the same year, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, introduced the Browser Act, which could require web-based services to give users the option to withdraw their personal data or not. Privacy in the United States is already regulated to some extent by the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. However, the regulations of the agencies do not have the teeth of the GDPR, which imposes heavy fines on companies for violating the rules. These fines can amount to 20 million euros or 4 percent of the annual income of a company, whichever is greater. Zuckerberg on the regulation of privacy The interrogation that Zuckerberg lived in two separate appearances before the Congress marked the most relevant public discussion on the enactment of privacy regulations that we have seen so far. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked Zuckerberg if he thinks the Europeans did well. “I think they do things right,” Zuckerberg said, eliciting laughter. On Wednesday, Rep. Scott Peters, a California Democrat, asked Zuckerberg what specific parts of the GDPR he believes are a good idea. “In general, it’s going to be a very positive step for the Internet,” Zuckerberg said. He considered that many of the rights granted to users by law to control the data are now available on Facebook. In response to the idea of requiring companies to make those controls more obvious and to obtain user consent for data collection, as required by regulation, Zuckerberg commented: “I think it makes sense to do more.” Facebook recently implemented tools that they allow you to remove information from the social network permanently. Regarding the weaknesses of this regulation, Zuckerberg said: “I need to think about that a bit more.” Bring the GDPR rules to the USA Despite the hours of interrogation that Zuckerberg went through, privacy advocates said lawmakers were not firm enough in their questioning about regulation.
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“We should not be begging Facebook to approve the laws, nor asking promises of self-regulation from Mark Zuckerberg,” said Zephyr Teachout, an activist and professor at the Fordham University School of Law, Opinion article in The Guardian . While it could be a remote possibility, the technology sector should endorse specific laws in the future, said Lorrie Cranor, former head of Technology at the FTC, during the administration of President Barack Obama. “They can say: ‘There are parts of GDPR that we might well have in the United States because we already met them anyway,'” Cranor said. However, that phrase will not come from the kindness of their hearts. Companies may prefer to have a standard law that they must comply with instead of spending resources in following different regulations in different countries. In addition, there could be a financial incentive for large companies to convert part of the GDPR into law in the United States. “It will be much easier for large companies to deal with compliance, so it will give them an advantage over smaller companies,” Cranor said. The opposition of the industry Currently, companies in the technology industry are not in favor of passing a law that reflects the GDPR. “Their lightweight approach to Internet regulation has made the American digital economy the envy of the world,” the Information and Innovation Technology Foundation said in a statement on Tuesday. “Taking steps towards European-style privacy regulation would offer only marginal value to users, but would significantly erode US competitiveness and Internet innovation.” Cranor said that this vision will keep limited the possibility of any regulation passing. “I’m not saying that all GDPR rules have any chance of happening in the United States, but there may be some pieces that have a chance if the industry supports them.”
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