It feels like all we talk about these days is data privacy and protection. Who’s leaked what? How did it happen, and what are they going to do to stop it? Now, according to Axios, several major tech giants are going to meet in San Francisco to discuss the security of personal data of users. This comes just a few weeks after the European’s General Data Protection Regulations went into effect. Which makes you wonder if tech companies are going to make these protections available for U.S. users as well? The meeting will be attended by members of the Information Technology Industry Council. Members include companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, Twitter and many others.
Even though ITI expressed to Axios that it expects representatives from multiple companies across a diverse sampling of industry sectors to attend, it didn’t explicitly say which companies would be there. But here’s the thing, they’re not just talking about consumer privacy, they are actually going to talk about how to handle the growing concerns surrounding Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. President, Dean Garfield shared its members’ thoughts regarding user privacy:
“My experience is that they’ve always viewed privacy as a foundational principle, but the question of how do you give meaning to it and talk about it in a way that resonates is now something that’s more pressing.”
Apparently what prompted this meeting was the GDPR, but it’s also coming at a very interesting time considering that Zuckerberg testified before Congress just a few months ago. The U.S. is trying to figure out how to handle privacy protections for consumers, and considering whether legislation is necessary. After Zuckerberg’s testimony, I’m not sure how else that one could get sorted out – can you? I mean, he basically admitted that there is nothing stopping him or any other tech giant from using user data in nefarious ways. Sure, there’s this thing called morals, and ethics, but those aren’t hard and fast rules of law. That’s what is needed, in my opinion.
This group is meeting to come up with a unifying statement, however, that’s going to prove to be challenging considering that both Zuckerberg and Tim Cook are at the same table. Cook has challenged Zuckerberg on his use of consumer data.
“Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right, so every Apple product is designed to minimize the collection and use of your data, use on-device processing whenever possible, and provide transparency and control over your information.”
But we should also consider how Google fits into this as their business model is very similar to Facebook. But Google has been flying under the radar with all of this lately. Can these views be brought together in a way that can be presented with a unified front? That remains to be seen, but the fact is that they’re all meeting in order to try to figure that out. I’m confident that they’ll be able to come to some agreement, but I’m not confident that Facebook will like it very much. Whether or not they be at the meeting is not necessarily known, but I expect they will at least send a representative considering they need to do some damage control on this one.