Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Will the U.S. Adopt the EU GDPR for Privacy Protection?

A professional colleague on our organizational forum asked, "... when will a US law similar to Europe's GDPR be implemented?  Would it be a similar model?"

I think it safe to predict that the US will not implement the GDPR model any time in the foreseeable future. The cultural, political, and economic philosophies influencing legislation in the US are not the same as those embedded in the EU Parliament. The EU Parliament, along with many of the member nation legislatures, appears to have a strong socialist approach combined with a belief that a strong central government knows best and needs to tell the populace what is best for them. Further, at times it appears that this extends to acting like rights are granted by the government. The EU approach to law and government is also deeply influenced by a belief that socialism is preferable to capitalism for dealing with the economy.

In the USA our influences include a stronger capitalist approach to legislation, balancing personal rights and protections with the benefits of a limited regulation of commerce in order to ensure a thriving capitalist, competition-based economy. Some aspects of GDPR appear to conflict with the ability of businesses to maximize profits and grow the economy.

Consider in particular the European concept of the "right to be forgotten," part of the GDPR approach that predates the GDPR itself. Of the five huge economic engines of the US and international economy (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple), having to operate under restrictions based on that "right" digs deeply into their business models and limits potential profits for at least three: Facebook, Google, and Amazon. They are all spending heavy resources to meet GDPR requirements in the EU, and would prefer (and will lobby heavily) to avoid the same in the USA.

In the US we are currently seeing a major contention for dominance between socialist and capitalist economic philosophies. At the same time we are seeing contention between a big central government approach and a localized and minimalist government intrusion philosophy. These two situations are also being confounded by groups seeking power for its own sake, many with an anarchist bent.

Only if the overall US government settles into a strong central government, turning the states into subordinate provinces, along with a deep socialist approach to both government and economy, will we see a full GDPR model implemented in the US. These changes may or may not happen some day, but definitely not within the coming years.

(c) 2018 D. Cragin Shelton

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