European Regulator Warns Silicon Valley About Privacy


Coverage Type: reporting
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Four Seasons Silicon Valley, 2050 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA, 94303, United States

The European data protection supervisor, Peter Hustinx, urged technology companies to “innovate” in the area of consumer privacy, saying that lawmakers on the continent would press ahead on a contentious proposed law that would, in part, compel companies to pare down the personal data kept in their digital vaults.

“It really is based on the idea that when there is not good enough reason to keep the data, it should be deleted,” Hustinx told a conference on digital privacy, sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, which is part of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. “When data have been published or have been shared and it is within your power to get them back, you have to make reasonable effort to get the spirit back in the bottle,” he said. The daylong privacy conference repeatedly raised the question of the value of privacy, with Michael Hintze, a lawyer for Microsoft, pointing out that despite privacy flaps at companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, no company seems to have lost market share as a result. “A company may get bad press on privacy but large numbers of its customers aren’t leaving in droves,” he said. Hustinx was undeterred. “It is true that people behave sometimes in a different manner,” he said. “But we get continued, strong feedback for stronger protection.”

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