The White House is presently working on a federal online data privacy plan meant to regulate the manner in which digital companies are allowed to collect, manage, and leverage personal information of individuals, Axios reports, citing sources close to the government. President Trump’s special assistant for tech and related industries, Abigail Slater, is said to have already discussed such measures with a number of parties, including The Business Roundtable committee with whom she reportedly met last week. The plan is understood to be in its early stages and may not end up amounting to anything.
Ms. Slater also met with Information Technology Industry Council CEO Dean Garfield last Thursday, insiders claim, adding that the two discussed the General Data Protection Regulation and what the United States could adopt from the strictest set of privacy laws ever enacted in the West. After officially entering into force late last month, GDPR already forced some websites offline and improved the overall level of online data collection transparency by a significant margin. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple — all of which are represented by the organization headed by Mr. Garfield — recently committed significant resources to comply with GDPR and largely welcomed the legislation, vowing to go beyond what they’re legally obliged to and improve the privacy of all of their users across the world, regardless of whether they’re protected by the European Union’s law or not.
An executive order mandating the federal government to work on a data privacy framework is said to be one of the options currently considered by the White House and while the President often resorted to such directives since taking office in early 2017, it’s presently unclear how effective such a move would be in this case. By most accounts, the Federal Trade Commission would have to be involved in the process given its current jurisdiction, though the agency in question is entirely independent and can’t be forced to comply or compromise if another branch of the government has different ideas for how the theoretical framework should work.