European Union industry chief Thierry Breton on Thursday defended draft rules aimed at preventing non-EU governments from gaining illegal access to EU data, saying they were not protectionist.
The draft Data Law, which Breton proposed early last year, is in the final stage of negotiations between the European Commission, EU countries and EU lawmakers. The parties are expected to reach an agreement next week on the final details before the legislation is adopted.
It sets out rights and obligations on the use of EU corporate and consumer data generated on smart devices and machinery, as well as consumer goods, and is the latest in a series of regulations designed to curb the power of US tech giants.
“Our European data strategy is to unlock vast amounts of big data and establish how that data should be shared, stored and processed. This will benefit all companies, European, American and others alike,” Breton said in the text of a speech to be delivered at the opening of an EU office in San Francisco.
“Assertiveness is not protectionism,” he said.
Big US tech companies have said the data law could prevent international data transfers, and European companies have also criticized it.
Siemens and SAP said last month that a provision requiring companies to share data with third parties to provide after-sales or other data-driven services could jeopardize trade secrets.
In San Francisco, Breton will meet with Twitter owner Elon Musk, Meta Platform CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. He will try to persuade them to sign up to his AI Pact, which aims to get companies to implement EU AI standards ahead of their application two years from now.
He also said he would head to Asia next week to discuss the digital agenda and AI with the Korean and Japanese governments, adding that Europe had also launched a digital partnership with Singapore.
© Thomson Reuters 2023