The US has fallen behind the rest of the world on privacy and data protection and urgently needs new laws, Microsoft’s most senior privacy legal expert has warned.
Julie Brill, vice president and deputy general counsel for privacy and regulatory affairs at Microsoft, set out her concerns in a blog this week.
Brill cited a new Microsoft-commissioned poll from Yougov showing seven in 10 Americans would like to see privacy regulation addressed by the next administration.
She wrote: “Today, it is simply too difficult for people to find out what personal data is collected about them or how it will be used.
“And there have been more than enough high-profile data breaches and stories about the misuse of personal data in recent years to give people pause about whether companies and government are good stewards of their personal data.”
The Yougov study shows nine in 10 Americans are concerned about sharing their information.
Brill said: “One reason trust is so tenuous in the United States is the lack of a strong national privacy law.
“Since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted just two years ago, many countries, including Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea and Thailand, have adopted, revised or proposed new frameworks for privacy protection that recognize people own their personal data and have a right to view, correct and delete it.
“In total, over 130 countries and jurisdictions have enacted privacy laws. Yet, one country has not done so yet: the United States.”
“Current laws in the United States govern only limited types of information, and all of them are more than two decades old.”
Brill warned that if the US does not act to bring in a law quickly it risks not being able to join the global conversation on developing laws that will “enable innovation through responsible data use” and the balance of power will shift away from Washington DC to other global capitals.
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