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Democrats reportedly draw up plans to mimic GDPR regulations



mark warner
Mark Warner.

Associated Press/J. Scott

  • In a document obtained by Axios, Democratic senator
    Mark Warner outlined ways of improving regulation of big tech
    in the US.
  • Warner suggests that making laws similar to the EU’s
    GDPR regulations could be one way of improving privacy
  • Other suggestions made in the document
    include making tech firms identify and label

Senator Mark Warner’s office has laid outlined ways for US
policymakers to bring big tech to heel following Russian
interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In a
23-page document obtained by Axios
— prepared by Warner’s
staff and reportedly circulated in tech policy circles — the
Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman has devised policy
proposals around combating disinformation, protecting user
privacy, and promoting competition tech.

With regards to protecting user privacy, Warner suggests that the
US adopt data legislation similar to Europe’s recent GDPR
regulations. He identifies key parts of GDPR which could be
copied such as data portability, the right to be forgotten,
72-hour breach notification, and first party consent.

First party consent, in particular, is singled out as a feature
of GDPR that the US could adopt, with a view to preventing third
parties from obtaining people’s data “without their explicit and
informed consent.”

However, the report also says that a singular emphasis on user
consent could be “naïve,” and that an effort would also have to
be made to crack down on “dark
which are used to manipulate users.

The document notes that a US central authority would have to be
created to enforce any GDPR-like regulation, as while EU member
states have their own privacy regulators, the US is lacking any
equivalent authority. It also notes that GDPR “may take too
extreme a view of what constitutes personal data,” as domain
registration information falls under that remit.

Mimicking GDPR is only one of many suggestions put forward in the
document. It also proposes that web platforms could be legally
obliged to identify and label bots, and that there be a public
initiative to introduce “media literacy” into the education

Many of the policies outlined in the paper are ambitious and
sweeping, but as the Democrats hold neither house it is unlikely
that we’ll see any of them implemented in the near future.

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