As we have learned by now, big companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon all benefit financially from the lax privacy laws on the internet. Thanks to privacy policies which we all blindly check when we fill out any form, these companies have the right to harvest the information we give them to do research on the type of people who are using their web services. However, there is a new data protection law which has been described as “the world’s strongest” that might soon be adopted in Europe. On Monday, European representatives from all types of businesses met in Berlin at the Pullman Hotel Schweizerhof near Tiergarten central park to discuss how exactly these regulations, if adopted, would effect them.
The laws would prohibit the use of a range of what is now considered “standard” Web tracking and profiling. These standard practices are what companies use to create targeted advertisements which have proven very financially beneficial to these companies. Additionally, the bill would grant European media consumers a fundamental new right: what is known as “data portability”, or the right to easily transfer one’s posts/content from one online service to another. The bill would effect virtually all businesses and that was evident in the attendance at the conference: all sorts of businesses from Central and Eastern Europe were present, from businesses like Google and Facebook to BMW and UBS.
Clearly, these businesses all have a similar goal in mind: financial gain and making money back for their investors. The law was created to rein in the data usage of large social media networks like Google and Facebook. However, the new data regulation law will create a whole new layer of regulation that doesn’t even have to do with social media — these companies will likely see their compliance loads increase without much benefit. The bill was created last year by Viviane Reding, the European justice commissioner, but is now being spurred on and sponsored by Jan Philipp Albrecht, a member of the European parliament from Hanover. However the future of this bill is still unclear: most likely, because of the large businesses who would be effected by it, and these businesses control over government (money makes the world go round), despite it being in the best interest of the user, it will not get past the deliberation stages.