Wednesday , 15 August 2018
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IBM execs urge US lawmakers not to adopt GDPR

BIG BLUE IBM is reportedly sending more than 100 execs to urge US Senators and Representatives not to implement an American version of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next week.

According to Bloomberg, around 100 members of the company’s executive team will travel to Washington to lobby lawmakers against bringing-in a US-style GDPR. Instead, they will urge a “third way” that it describes as a “collaborative public-private approach”. 

The EU law will provide European citizens with greater control over their personal data. It will also transform the way firms are expected to handle this information and is extra-territorial in nature: any organisation anywhere in the world processing the personal data of EU citizens is expected to comply with it. 

However, IBM believes that the law would not suit the needs of US citizens and (in particular) businesses, and is on a mission to convince policymakers to develop their own, watered-down version of the regulation instead. 

Every year, IBM visits the US capital to impress its corporate thoughts onto politicians and lawmakers. This year, it has invested a significant amount of interest in data protection topics.

The executives will hold talks with an estimated 200 politicians and support staff with the aim of getting them to draw-up an American privacy framework, which will effectively keep formal data protection law to a minimum in the US.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Christopher Padilla – vice president of government and regulatory affairs at IBM – said: “GDPR may work for Europe, but that doesn’t mean it should become a global standard,”

The executive added: “Doing nothing is not an option. We don’t think a one-size-fits-all approach works necessarily here.”

Blogging on the topic, IBM asserted that the US government should develop a data privacy regulation that is “tailored to America’s needs”.

“What works for one country or region will not necessarily work for another. IBM has worked closely with the European Union to ensure the GDPR addresses privacy concerns without undermining innovation,” said the firm.

But we do not agree with every component of the GDPR. As other countries consider their own privacy challenges, we do not believe that GDPR should be simply grafted onto privacy systems where its relatively prescriptive approach may not work – particularly in the United States.”

In America, the company wants to see the see politicians work with companies to develop a data protection framework that suits the country’s needs.

“IBM believes the United States should pursue a third way-one with a track record of success,” added the firm.

“Instead of government mandates, we believe a collaborative public-private approach, led by industry together with government, is the most feasible way to develop a framework of data privacy standards tailored to America’s needs.” µ



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