Must See … 60 Minutes Report on GDPR and U.S. Privacy Regulation

On November 11, 2018, the television program “60 Minutes” aired a comprehensive report on the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the U.S. data privacy landscape. The story was largely focused upon tech giants’ monetization efforts via the largely unregulated use of personal information.

There has been talk lately of a federal data privacy law. Primarily due to the enactment of the GDPR and California’s landmark Consumer Privacy Act. Both provide consumers with heightened control over the collection, use and retention of their personal information.

Europe has long been a world leader in internet privacy and data protection. The U.S. is trying to play catch-up. Senator Mark Warner stated, “[t]he era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end.” Senator John Thune said, “[t]he question is no longer whether we need a federal law to protect consumers’ privacy, the question is what shape will that law take?”

Steve Kroft asked a rather important question of Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist. Who owns your data? Schrems comments that the GDPR says that it belongs to the individual.

A number of American tech companies have their European headquarters in Dublin due to Ireland’s low corporate taxes and minimal regulation. Ireland’s data protection commissioner stated that she believes that U.S. internet companies must be mindful of GDPR’s harsh penalties.

Big tech has stated publically that it would support a federal privacy law if provided meaningful input. Similarly, the president of the Internet Association commented that the organization supports providing people in the U.S. similar data privacy rights to those of Europeans, including increased control and transparency.

See the video, here.

Richard B. Newman is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and a privacy lawyer at Hinch Newman LLP.