Opinions Splitting Around the World on Data Protection & Net Neutrality

8347363864_3afc816567Karlin Kellington of The Irish Times reports, "In the wake of recent European Court of Justice decisions on privacy, and ongoing, divergent debates in the US and EU over net neutrality and copyright, are we about to end up with two markets divided by legislative approaches to the internet? Many think the possibility is growing of two differing jurisdictions, which will offer headaches and more complexity. However, there could be fresh opportunity for European businesses, too. The April decision by the ECJ to throw out Europe’s 2006 Data Retention Directive as well as the more recent ruling that Google is a data controller subject to national data protection laws in Europe which also can be forced to remove limited types of content on request, indicated the EU will prioritise personal privacy over certain business or government security arguments."

Kellington continues, "The Google decision has split opinion worldwide. 'I very much think you cannot regulate a tool, and Google’s a tool. I think the ECJ has made a bad ruling,' argues Joe Haslam, executive director of the Owners & Entrepreneurs Management Program at Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, and the co-founder and chairman of hotel booking app start-up Hot Hotels. But at the same time, he notes that Google makes more money in Europe than in the US, 'so the EU has far more strength if it wants to stand up to Google'."

He adds, "John Breslin, a lecturer at NUI Galway and researcher in the area of the semantic web, feels that technically, a right to be forgotten could be very difficult to ensure, even with the ongoing online evolution towards the semantic web, where data will carry identifying tags, making it easier to find and manage it. 'The semantic web I suppose could be used to link various identities to have them removed, but when someone makes a request to have information removed, it’s quite difficult.' Because of the nature of the web, information has often been shared, quoted, or commented upon, becoming part of others’ online data."

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