U.S. Losing Ground on Making Global Privacy Mark Without Federal Rules

The EU has sweeping privacy rules in place that could further influence global companies, as U.S. still without unified legislation.

U.S. Losing Ground on Making Global Privacy Mark Without Federal Rules
Screenshot taken from the Protocol event on January 26, 2022.

WASHINGTON, February 1, 2022 – Tech leaders and lawmakers agreed Wednesday that the U.S. is at risk of falling behind being able to establish privacy standards if Congress does not act quickly enough to implement federal rules.

The European Union already has a sweeping privacy and data protection law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, that impacts American companies, yet the United States does not have similar legislation that would allow it to establish its own principles and have similar global influence, experts said.

Samir Jain, director of policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said at an event hosted by tech industry coalition Chamber of Progress and tech publication Protocol that those EU rules will “become the models of the world.” The impact of these sweeping rules will mean international corporations, which will follow the EU model, will affect U.S. consumers.

Jain pointed to further legislation in the EU, including the Digital Markets Act, the Digital Service Act and the AI Act, which could be passed into law within the year and which provide further rules to protect consumers’ technological privacy.

Jain said that if the U.S. wants to have a say in what privacy policy looks like in light of the deluge of foreign legislation, Congress will have to act quickly.

Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., said she commends those states that have “passed technology regulations over the past few years in the absence of federal action.” Trahan maintained that federal legislation with the intent of protecting consumers is essential.

Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer and corporate vice president for global privacy and regulatory affairs, echoed the congresswoman’s stance.

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