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EU Industry Chief Thierry Breton Defends Data Rules Criticised by Big Tech

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 Act, 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 a deal next week on the final details before the legislation is adopted. 

It lays out rights and obligations on the use of EU consumer and corporate data generated in smart gadgets 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 a wealth of big data and set out how that data should be shared, stored and processed. This will benefit all businesses – 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 Act could impede international data transfer, and European companies have also criticised it. 

Siemens and SAP last month said a provision forcing companies to share data with third parties to provide aftermarket or other data-driven services could endanger trade secrets. 

In San Francisco, Breton will meet Twitter-owner Elon Musk, Meta Platform CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. He will seek to persuade them to sign up to his AI Pact that aims to get companies to implement EU AI rules ahead of their enforcement in two years’ time. 

He also said he would head to Asia next week to discuss the digital agenda and AI with the Korean and Japanese governments, adding Europe had also launched a digital partnership with Singapore. 

Source: The Economic Times



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