The Right Answer

I don’t often agree with Mark Zuckerberg, but in this case, I do, to the extent he has the courage of his words. The European Union’s Internal Market Commission has fined Meta $1.3 billion for the crime of sending the data its Facebook facility collects on European citizens to servers in the US.

The ruling raises pressure on the US government to complete a deal that would allow Meta and thousands of multinational companies to keep sending such information stateside.
Tech companies have been especially vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny absent such a deal. But most large international companies rely on a relatively free flow of data across the Atlantic….

No, the “pressure” applied is only what Biden and his staff choose to feel. Instead, this would be a good time for Biden and his to act like they care more about what benefits America than about what benefits other polities. The vast majority of those large international companies are, after all, American companies, and the requirement to keep that kind of data on EU servers is nakedly aimed at our companies. Apparently, the Commission thinks that EU companies are unable to compete without anchors tied around our companies’ ankles.

Zuckerberg is on the right track. In addition to appealing the Commission’s order (Meta must stop sending information about European Facebook users to the US and delete data already sent) and fine, he says:

Meta has said in securities filings that if ordered to suspend transfers, it may have to stop offering services in the EU….

All of our transnationals should take that tack. If the EU wants to compete only on the race to regulatory control, it should be left to play by itself. The race to be the most controlling administrative state is one our nation should happily lose.

This is where Biden backstops Zuckerberg. We’re waiting.

And one more, separate, thing. Biden also could backstop all of our transnationals and all of our domestic companies by getting the Federal government out of the business of spying on American citizens and rifling through private papers stored on American soil. On that, the EU has a valid beef.

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