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  • Didier Reynders, the European commissioner for justice, calls for stronger US involvement in tech regulation, specifically AI and data privacy.
  • Reynders expresses concern about lack of significant action from the US despite proposals from various stakeholders for data privacy laws similar to the EU’s GDPR.
  • The commissioner suggests that the US and EU adopting a common approach towards AI regulation could set an international standard.

The European commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders, has made a plea for greater involvement from the US in regulating technology, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and data privacy. This call-to-action is born out of Reynders’ frustration with the perceived inertia in US legislation concerning tech regulation despite consistent overtures and proposals from various quarters.

A Common Approach to Regulating AI

Reynders fears that without the US stepping up to the plate, the regulation of AI, a potent class of technology, could remain unchecked. Tech leaders, like OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, have expressed their desire for new safeguards. However, Reynders argues that new laws are unlikely without significant initiative from American lawmakers. He believes that joint action between the US and the EU could pave the way for international standards in AI regulation.

OpenAI’s AI chatbot, ChatGPT, has found itself in the crosshairs of privacy and AI-specific regulatory efforts. Reynders suggests that the forthcoming findings of a full investigation into the company’s GDPR compliance could necessitate further adjustments to its data collection and retention policies. He also emphasizes the need for dialogue with major players in the tech industry to understand their concerns and to explore potential legislative solutions.

Transatlantic Data Transfers and Privacy Activism

Reynders’ call for stronger US involvement coincides with the finalization of a third agreement allowing companies to store EU citizens’ data on US servers. This agreement comes in the wake of two previous deals being rejected by the EU’s top court due to inadequate protection against US authorities intruding into the data. Additionally, Reynders addresses a recent altercation with privacy activist Max Schrems and asserts the need for further judicial scrutiny of the new data transfer agreement.

Reynders also underlines the importance of updating laws to counter digital abuses such as online harassment and revenge porn. Further, he mentions his effort to tackle the issue of “cookie fatigue” caused by the constant barrage of pop-ups seeking user consent for data storage. While conceding the difficulty of simplifying this process, he remains hopeful that browsers and websites could collaborate to devise a more streamlined approach.