Amazon, Google, Twitter Talk About Cross-Border Data Transfer Federal Privacy Laws At CES

Cross-border data transfers will increase the incentive for the federal government to create privacy standards.

Europe has been a bigger voice when it comes to privacy and the safe international transfer of data. The passage of Europe’s GDPR created a major catalyst for U.S. laws, specifically in California, but more cooperation between private and public sectors is needed, said Keith Enright, chief privacy officer at Google, during a conversation at virtual CEO 2021 on Tuesday, moderated by Rejeev Chand, partner and head of research at Wing Venture Capital.

Enright said the collection of data and how it is being shared specifically in relation to artificial intelligence will be a major focus for Google this year.

When asked whether it's true or false that the U.S. will pass a federal privacy law within the next two years, Enright said “true, because it’s long overdue, but there are challenges getting there.”



There are some international incentives related to the cross-movement of data that make it more likely the federal government will act.

“The stars have been aligned for some time, but now, perhaps, as a new administration comes in they can see that change,” he said. “They can fix the cross-border issue on their own through an executive order, or try to do it as part of a federal law.”

A self-proclaimed optimist, Damien Kieran, chief privacy officer at Twitter, thinks the U.S. is much closer than ever before. This question has been brought up many times during the past 20 years, but getting it passed without tying it to many unrelated matters is always challenging. It makes these efforts fatal, he said.  

As I have noted in other articles published in Inside Performance, Kieran believes that CCPA and CPRA will be the catalyst to push a federal law.

“The reality that we are increasingly dealing with is data drives everything; therefore, virtually any set of legal requirements are increasingly being revised and reinterpreted to be legal requirements affecting the movement and governance of data,” Kieran says.

Companies are hoping for a preemptive federal bill that will provide clarity.

There are hundreds of privacy laws globally, and it’s a patchwork quilt, said Anne Toth, director at Alexa Trust at Amazon.

It is extremely important for the international community to get this correct the first time.

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