EU Digital Commish Calls Out Google and Facebook

Gunther Oettinger (above), the German statesman who serves as European Commissioner for Digital Economy, warned that the European Union must establish a single set of data protection rules to prevent Google and Facebook from preying on member states where personal data is easier to collect and “come along with their electronic vacuum cleaner, take it to California, and sell it for money.”

Oettinger’s remarks, reported by The Wall Street Journal, were made during a speech delivered today in Brussels. The EU has given notice it would unveil in May a plan for a “Digital Single Market” that would bind together the 28 different Web systems it oversees.

“The Americans are in the the lead. They’ve got the data, the business models, and so the power,” Oettinger said.

Differing Internet policies among European nations also complicates the EU’s net neutrality policy. In November, the VP for the Digital Single Market, former Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, expressed concern over Italian proposals to provide some leeway to network providers for offering different Internet speeds.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the battle over net neutrality remains in early stages. Tomorrow, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will chair a hearing of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee about whether the White House improperly influenced the Federal Communications Commission to offer up net neutrality rules in line with recommendations made by President Obama. The President’s proposal is very similar in nature to Europe’s in seeking to ban paid prioritization of Internet Access.

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