Senator Higgins urges Conference of Western Attorneys General to aim high on data protection and online regulation.

Senator Higgins questions officials from Facebook during committee hearing
Senator Higgins questions officials from Facebook during committee hearing

Independent Senator, Alice-Mary Higgins spoke at the Conference of Western Attorneys Generals in New Mexico this week about data protection, privacy and online regulation in Europe and Ireland. The Senator was speaking at the invitation of the Conference which brings together the highest law officials from a number of US States. 

“There is a growing appreciation by legislators both in Europe and in the United States of the importance of clear and enforceable data protection rules rather than reliance on self-regulation. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on May 25th is widely regarded as a gold standard in the protection and empowerment of individuals in terms of their data rights. However, similar moves are happening elsewhere. The new law just passed by the State of California is to some degree modeled on GDPR, and at this conference I have had the opportunity to meet with some of the team who will be bringing it into effect.” 

Senator Higgins continued, “Legislators are increasingly realizing that they need to step up to their responsibilities in terms of regulating the space and processes which our citizens navigate on a daily basis”  

Senator Higgins was invited to address the prestigious conference by a delegation of attorneys general who had travelled to Ireland and elsewhere in Europe in May to study the processes involved in adopting the general data protection regulation (GDPR). They reached out to Senator Higgins as a leading advocate of best practice and regulation during the debate in the Seanad. They subsequently invited her to address their annual conference in New Mexico.

In addition to her presentation on Data Protection, Senator Higgins had the opportunity to discuss a number of other key topics with the top US legislators, including the regulation of online political advertising, child protection and cybersecurity. She also spoke about the importance of net neutrality in ensuring equal and inclusive online participation.

Watch the full proceedings of the Committee hearing with Facebook officials:

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