5. Choose a story from the Sunday New York Times opinion section and then explain why: 1) you agree with it or 2) you agree and would add the following proof points or 3) you disagree completely and why. Don’t forget to include a link to the story. Please limit your answer to two concise paragraphs.
New York Times Sunday Review
Can Europe Lead on Privacy?
April 1, 2018
I agree with Tom Wheeler’s argument that the American government and corporations are not doing enough to protect its citizens’ private information. Wheeler sources a particular incident in 2016 that demonstrates America’s inability to equip its citizens with the proper means to safeguard their privacy. A few years ago the Federal Trade Commission attempted to pass a law that would require internet companies to ensure that consumers own their personal information and have sole control over its usage. Unlike the European Union which is currently moving to pass legislation to protect European citizens’ data privacy, Congress did not pass this legislation because of lobbying efforts of corporations like Comcast, AT&T, Google and Facebook. The failure for this law to pass shows that the influence from private corporations is enough to persuade the US government from protecting user privacy for its citizens.
I can also get behind Wheeler’s view that America’s best means for privacy protection currently comes through European regulations. The very American disdain for any kind of regulation gives me little faith that any legislation regarding this problem will be passed and implemented effectively. Wheeler seems to believe that European regulations will extend beyond the EU in a tangible way, but I am a bit skeptical. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation law still leaves it up to corporations to decide to grant the same protections to other countries outside the EU. I believe that unless companies such as Google that collect and sell citizens’ private information are forced to follow U.S. generated regulations, they will continue to profit from user data collection. As Wheeler predicts, some global-reaching companies may create a universal option for opting out of data collection beyond the requirements of the EU’s regulations, but I believe the majority of American companies will follow EU regulation policy solely within the EU. Companies that have access to personal user data will most likely continue to harvest and exploit that information within countries that do not ensure privacy protections.