The US and the EU face similar challenges stemming from the digitalization of everything. Online disinformation, data protection and privacy, and artificial intelligence all pose serious questions about how to embrace new opportunities and at the same time address risks. Meanwhile, the world’s largest trade relationship depends more and more on the flow of information over trans-Atlantic digital networks. The European Commission has been active on a number of policy initiatives that affect the digital society and economy and trans-Atlantic data flows. These include the Privacy Shield, which enables the trans-Atlantic flow of personal information despite differences in the United States and European Union (EU) privacy regimes. Last May, the EU implemented its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is also considering an ePrivacy Regulation addressing online marketing and cookies, regulation of online platforms, legislation to expand copyright online, and AI ethics. Nearly a year after implementation of the GDPR and going on three years since adoption of the Privacy Shield, have they achieved their intended goals? With a European Parliament election in May bringing down the curtain on the current commission, what lies ahead for the EU’s digital agenda?
On April 11, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a conversation with Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In this capacity, she plays a central role in EU-U.S. data flows. Jourová discussed privacy developments on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as regulation of the global digital economy and the relationship of the U.S. and the EU in crafting informed global privacy solutions. After the session, panelists answered questions from the audience.