Microsoft Chief Says EU ‘Most Influential’ on Tech Rules

Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Tuesday that Europe was the global leader in establishing guidelines for big tech, two years after the EU introduced the GDPR, the pioneering data protection legislation. Smith participated in an online dialogue with European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova, the highest EU official in control of data protection as it became a fact in 2018.

Brussels introduced the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR) to give people more control over data and their privacy.

The regulations also granted EU authorities the authority to fine and prosecute internet players — including Twitter, Google or Uber — who have broken the laws on the privacy of personal data.

“I do continue to see the trends from Brussels being the most influential in the world,” Smith said during the debate hosted by the Brussels-based CERRE think tank.

“Even when you look at something like the Australian law last year … it was clearly influenced by a lot of thinking that had been taking place for a couple of years in Brussels,” he said.

DPRG is seen as a major achievement by EU officials and Jourova underscored that the law has made it easier to develop tracing apps to combat the recurrence of the coronavirus pandemic, despite concerns about privacy.

GDPR “is based on the value that my identity is something I cannot sell and I have to have a 100 percent guarantee that my privacy and my identity are protected,” she said.

“Through the principles of GDPR, you (are) more assured that the tracing apps will not go beyond what we want in an emergency,” she said.

– Power to fine –

The second anniversary of the GDPR will be observed on Wednesday with the publication of an EU paper outlining some of the existing weaknesses.

According to the draft seen by AFP, the study criticizes the various aspects in which the laws are applied in the 27 member states of the bloc.

For example, the age of consent to share data with social media platforms such as Instagram or Tiktok varies widely, creating legal uncertainty.

The report will also warn that the GDPR was too cumbersome for small and medium-sized enterprises struggling to meet their conditions.

Help for SMEs from authorities should be “intensified and widespread, preferably within a common European approach,” the report said.

The report also stated that the national authorities responsible for the implementation of the GDPR could be further strengthened in order to carry out better investigations and fines.

The largest penalty so far has been EUR 50 million ($56 million), which was reported on Friday against Google in France due to approval issues with its Android smartphone operating system.

Source: AFP

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