As American grown technology companies seek to continue its rapid growth, it’s running into the European ways, one that is defined by classical culture and bureaucracy, with perhaps a dash of rationality.
The opening salvo for this millennium’s clash of the tech giants and the European nations started over the idea of data privacy. Not so long ago, Europe began pressuring Google to add the concept of data privacy, and allow individuals to not be found through the powerful search engine. Conceivably, this protest could spread to other large names, such as Amazon and Facebook. While Google has shown a willingness to work with European officials, no meaningful progress has been reported thus far.
The reality is that Europe is not only defending the individuals’ rights to privacy, but to protect its economy. There are man y problems facing European start-ups. As WSJ reports, “Taxes and employment rules are often onerous and the continent suffers a shortage of risk capital in a financial system heavily geared toward bank lending.” For US tech giants to come in and take over the market, Europe would see both its capital and its human capital drained to the more free, wheeling and dealing, US market.
There are few times when we see happy mistakes. In Europe’s enthusiastic defense of its own tech economy, we are forced to take a step back and debate the implications of corporation’s ownership of data. With data becoming more prolific and accessible by the many services and devices that we use, our lives are tracked by the very applications we use. And we all know that once any data makes it to the Internet, it can never be erased.