Together, technology companies Cisco and Apple are asking for a data protection law. There are divisions among several technology companies about possible interventions that can address concerns about data privacy among internet users. Chief legal officer of Cisco Mark Chandler made a comment about their stand and saying, “We believe that the GDPR has worked well and that with a few differences, that is what should be brought in in the US as well.”
Despite the criticisms made by other companies within the industry, Cisco remains firm in their position and is recommending American politicians to legislate an identical version of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The company’s bold statements mirror comments made by Apple chief executive Tim Cook, “It is time for the rest of the world to follow your lead.” He expressed Europe’s success as praiseworthy.
“Techlash” Concerns from Data Privacy Law
American companies in the technology industry have come together in urging politicians to enact a national data privacy law as soon as possible. Because of the possibility of the so-called “techlash,” companies do not want lawmakers to use the GDPR as a template.
Speculations suggest that enacting a data privacy law like the law in Europe may have penalties that could heavily weigh down on companies that violate it. A person in the industry adds to the speculations and saying, “If the US is going to do this, it should reflect a more American approach to business and regulation.” “The business-to-business companies are willing to see much tougher regulations than the consumer-facing ones.”
Personal information, the regulatory restrictions of law regulators, and the liability costs that are entailed on companies that are accountable for data breaches could be among the likely policies that would face some heated arguments among technology companies.
IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty makes a statement about the “techlashes” and saying, “The genesis of the trust crisis is the irresponsible handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platforms.” Being the loudest voice among the bosses of the technology industry concerning the restrictions for tougher data security and criticizer to fellow companies, Rometty may also be suggesting that business-to-business companies are keener and more prepared for a stronger regulation as compared to consumer-facing companies in the industry.
Apple suspended a group of internal Facebook applications last week. The company uncovered a violation made by the social media platform that reveals software that gathered simultaneous data about activities that iPhone users did on their smartphones. Along with Tim Cook’s words of praise, he also said, “Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies.” At the same time, Twitter executives have firmly stated that they prefer to gather as little information about their users as possible, unlike other internet companies.
A suggestion by Democratic Senator Mark Warner was made for Twitter to require location data from its users to clear away fake accounts like Russian bots that act like US voters. The company held out against the remarks of the senator.
As long as the would-be federal privacy law overrules state legislation instead of adding to it, the tech industry remains united in its collective aim for a data privacy law, in the meantime. “Internet companies are unified in their support for an economy-wide federal privacy law that provides consumers meaningful control across all industries,” as stated by Internet Association spokesperson Noah Theran.
In the days to come, tensions between American big tech companies and internet groups could stir up public conflicts. Opinions on consumer-facing companies of the industry speculate that they may divert themselves from the bill in front of their customers despite their shared interest with the rest of the companies in the industry.