Big Tech Under Scrutiny as White House Looks to Align Policy Approach with Europe

Leaders from the US and the European Union will try to be on the same page on data governance and a variety of related topics during this month’s first meeting of the Trade and Technology Council they have created.

The meeting, announced in a White House news release Thursday, is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It will include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and the Executive Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis.

The US representatives are co-chairs of the new council established by President Joe Biden, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, “to broaden and deepen transatlantic trade and investment ties and update traffic rules for the 21. century economy. “

“Building on our shared democratic values ​​and our economic relationship, the largest in the world, we look forward to working together to ensure that trade and technology policies work for our people,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne in the notice.

The new council will have ten groups that will work to achieve coherence in “cooperation on technology standards, supply chain security, green and climate technology, ICT security and competitiveness, data governance and technology platforms, misuse of the technology that threatens security and human rights, export controls, investment analysis, global trade challenges, and access and use of digital technologies by small and medium-sized businesses, ”said Horne.

European authorities have aggressively pursued major US companies such as Google and Facebook on violations of the General Data Protection Regulation, which includes provisions for notifications of non-compliance within 72 hours. US lawmakers are having related debates about when companies should be required to report cybersecurity incidents.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, proposed legislation that would impose fines on businesses that fail to report incidents that meet certain criteria, while leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee have taken a more favorable approach to the industry that uses citations instead of fines.

“For too long, the United States’ position on digital commerce has been to promote continued laissez faire, even as we saw the downsides to this approach to technology governance in recent years,” Warner said in a statement praising the announcement of the White House. “I am hopeful that Secretary Blinken, Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai will work with our European allies to update our digital commerce policies to promote innovation, privacy, competition and consumer protection.”

Incident reporting issues represent a small part of Warner’s interest in US-EU technology collaboration. It has also successfully lobbied for funds to promote cooperation on standards and a unified front on China’s supply chain challenges.

Thursday, Leadership of the Chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee proposed $ 10 billion of a $ 3.5 billion spending package that lawmakers are negotiating to go to the Commerce Department for related activities. The money should be used “for tracking and mapping the critical manufacturing supply chain; facilitate and support the establishment of voluntary standards, guidelines and best practices; identify, accelerate, promote and demonstrate technological advancements for critical manufacturing supply chains; and awarding grants or other financial assistance to eligible entities, ”according to a committee memorandum.

The committee also proposed boosting the budget of the Federal Trade Commission, now chaired by great technology rival Lina Khan. Lawmakers propose a $ 1 billion increase “to create and operate a new office dedicated to stopping unfair and deceptive acts and practices related to privacy breaches, data security incidents, identity theft and other data abuse.”

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