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Silicon Valley Finally Pushes for Data Privacy Laws at Senate Hearing

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Keith Enright, chief privacy officer at Google (left), and Damien Kieran, global data protection officer and associate legal director at Twitter, stand before the Senate commerce committee.

Technology industry representatives testifying at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday argued in favor of implementing federal data privacy laws.

Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

At a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, technology industry representatives argued in favor of implementing federal data privacy laws.

Although Silicon Valley companies have traditionally pushed for self-regulation, new concerns have emerged following the European Union's strict new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

California has implemented its own version of the GDPR, which is now considered the strongest U.S. privacy bill. However, among the critics of California's privacy bill is the state's own attorney general, who calls the measure "unworkable."

At the hearing, all of the witnesses opposed some provisions of the GDPR and the California law, and pushed for a federal law that overrides state regulations.

Berin Szoka of tech policy thinktank TechFreedom said even if Congress, Silicon Valley, and consumer advocates agree on basic privacy rules, enacting those rules in the real world will be challenging.

Said Szoka, "The real question becomes, how do you operationalize that? What does the institutional framework look like? What are the enforcement mechanisms?"

From The Guardian
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