• Cisco boss: It’s time for US to regulate tech giants
  • Apple CEO proposes “comprehensive federal privacy law”
  • But reluctance to adopt full suite of GDPR regulations

Cisco has joined Apple, Microsoft and IBM in urging the US to follow in the footsteps of the European Union by formalising GDPR-like regulations. 

Cisco chief legal and compliance officer Mark Chandler is the latest tech boss to call on US politicians to regulate technology companies in a move to tackle privacy concerns.

Chandler told the Financial Times Cisco wants the US to legalise a version of the European Union’s global data protection regulation (GDPR).

He said: “We believe that the GDPR has worked well and that with a few differences, that is what should be brought in in the US as well.”

Chandler highlighted the EU’s success in giving users more freedom and control in enabling access over personal data and forcing technology companies to be held accountable with its internal processing, sharing and cultivating of its users information, with significant fines for non-compliance.

However, he pointed to individuals rights to customise their privacy settings and remove details from global search engines as aspects of the EU rules he would not want to see replicated in the US.

According to the Financial Times, US technology companies are united in calling for politicians to pass its first national data privacy law, however there are concerns about the penalties and fines for data breaches.

Calling for a new global privacy norm, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella spoke last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos praising the EU’s GDPR that came into effect last year.

He said: “My own point of view is that it’s a fantastic start in treating privacy as a human right.

“I hope that in the United States we do something similar, and that the world converges on a common standard.”

He praised the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology notably facial recognition that he said would become democratised and celebrated for greater good, however it’s not without its dark sides including privacy and bias.

“I hope that in the United States we do something similar, and that the world converges on a common standard” Satya Nadella, Microsoft 

Nadella explained Microsoft has built a set of principles for the ethical use of AI but “self-regulation was not enough,” he continued, “we welcome any regulation that helps the marketplace not be a race to the bottom.”

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty said last year during an event in Brussels there is a “trust crisis” between technology companies and users, which must be addressed.

Rometty said that a new way of thinking is needed to counter the powerful dynamic. She suggested a “regulatory scalpel, not a sledgehammer” to avoid hurting the wider and more responsible parts of the digital economy.

She added: “Dominant online platforms have more power to shape public opinion than newspapers or the television ever had, yet they face very little regulation or liability.”

Apple has long positioned itself away from the likes of Facebook and Google as an advocate for data privacy. Speaking during the 40th International Conference of data Protection and Privacy Commissioners last year, Apple chief executive Tim Cook praised Europe’s “successful implementation” of GDPR, he urged the rest of the world to follow its lead.

He said: “Our own information - from the everyday to the deeply personal - is being weaponised against us with military efficiency.

“These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesised, traded and sold.”

Cook explained that taken to the extreme, personal data harvesting offers digital profiles so detailed they have enabled companies to know you better than yourself. He proposed “a comprehensive federal privacy law”.

He added: “Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm…we shouldn’t sugar coat the consequences, this is surveillance.”