Privacy in the technology industry, especially in software and computing, has somewhat become a joke in recent years. Some companies, like Facebook and Google, have been dragged into the spotlight and shamed for mishandling users’ private data. Naturally, all companies claim they are all for privacy but, it unsurprisingly, they don’t all agree on what that privacy means. That is why companies such as Cisco and Apple are calling on the federal government to come up with a national data privacy law and are pointing to the EU’s GDPR as the inspiration for such a regulation.
Enforced in May last year, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR provided regulations for companies operating in the European Union in handling users’ private data. It required them, for example, not only to inform users of any data collection that may happen, from the smallest website cookie to large Internet services. It also required these companies to erase users’ data at their request.
While largely praised for its strong stance on protecting data privacy, the GDPR wasn’t without its criticisms and flaws. There were some areas deemed to be strict while others were seen to be too vague. The greatest concern, however, was the cost of implementing GDPR’s rules, as seen in the flood of emails companies received requesting deleting their personal data from databases.
Ironically, Cisco chief legal officer Mark Chandler says that the right to have their data removed from search engines is one of the things that shouldn’t be done in the US. What proponents suggest is modifying the model used by the EU in crafting the GDPR but make it more “American.”
That, however, is actually the recent point of contention by tech companies involved in pushing politicians to come up with a federal data privacy law that will override state laws. In public, they’re all rooting for privacy but, in private, they reportedly disagree on details like what constitutes personal information, how much power authorities should be given, and the penalties for data breaches. And given the current political landscape, it’s probably going to take no small amount of time before such a law is enacted.