Google’s Eric Schmidt on ‘Data Protectionism’
Posted at 5:11 p.m. on May 22, 2014
Schmidt at an event in Hong Kong in November. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt says Internet companies are facing a “rising tide of data protectionism,” and that it could have widespread economic effects.
Schmidt spoke in Washington on Thursday at a New America Foundation event that looked at a McKinsey & Company report on globalization in the digital era. That “rising tide of data protectionism” affects the issues covered in the report, he said, adding that it “may have been triggered by the NSA disclosures, it may have been triggered by other more parochial issues.”
“But we’re seeing a rise of laws which are attempting to force businesses to keep their information within the country as opposed to under the country’s laws, if you see the distinction,” he said.
For example, the EU and the U.S. have a safe harbor program he said allows for steady business operations between the two regions. But data protectionism would threaten that.
“If you start forcing the servers in the country,” that affects “the economics of these businesses, it makes them operate sub-optimally, it favors local rather than global businesses, and so forth,” he said.
In other Google news today, a surveillance overhaul bill passed the House this morning, which the company reportedly stopped supporting. According to the Associated Press, Google was among the tech companies that dropped support over concerns about bulk data collection.
The Chamber of Commerce also came out with a report last week on data flows across national boundaries.