Europe’s landmark data privacy laws will go into effect Friday, offering users greater control over their online data and limiting how companies can take utilize their user’s information. Tech giants such as Facebook and Google have been scrambling to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will impact users far beyond Europe, according to The New York Times.
There is also reason to believe the GDPR could be indicative of the direction in which other data privacy laws are headed in the future. South Korea, Brazil, and Japan have all taken steps toward similar data regulations, and some trade deals EU trade deals will hinge on other nation’s compliance with privacy rules, in an effort to bring the standards to the rest of the world.
EU officials have expressed that a global approach may be the only way to put effective privacy protections in place to address incidents like the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Officials have actively pressed for similar rules around the world, and the EU has signaled a willingness to limit access to its consumer market for nations that don’t meet the new privacy standards.
EU authorities are also pushing for more stringent tax policies and antitrust enforcement on tech companies.
In contrast, the US has taken little action to regulate tech giants, and the Trump administration has continued to curb regulation and taxes across the board.
The GDPR will empower users to access any data collected by companies, and to have it deleted on request. It also makes It tougher for companies to target advertising using this data, and requires them to clearly explain how any personal data is being used. Fines for failure to comply with the law could run over $1 billion.
Brazil has sought advice from European officials in crafting similar regulations. Japan created an independent online privacy board last year. South Korea is also weighing new, stringent privacy laws, and Israel has put new requirements in place for companies to disclose the occurrence of data breaches.
Facebook has said it has had as many as 1,000 employees working to comply with the new policies, and tech companies have stepped up their lobbying efforts in Brussels.
According to Dean C. Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade-group that represents Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech companies, the group is recognizing that the EU is now “driving and directing policy.”
Change may be on the horizon even in the US, where Democrats in the Senate have introduced a measure to apply Europe’s new privacy standards. But such a proposal is unlikely to pass unless the Democrats gain majorities in Congress later this year.