The New York TimesThe New York Times

How the Netherlands is taming Big Tech

By Natasha Singer

19 Jan 2023 · 6 min read

As the NYT points out, the Dutch have had remarkable success in compelling Big Tech companies to make major privacy changes. How have they done it? By using a landmark data protection law as a lever.

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In 2021, privacy consultants working for two Dutch universities issued a critical report card on Google’s education apps, a set of classroom tools like Google Docs that are used by more than 170 million students and educators worldwide.

The audit warned that Google’s tools for schools lacked a number of privacy protections — like narrow limits on how the company could use students’ and teachers’ personal data — that were required by European law. Although the company addressed some of the concerns, the report said, Google declined to comply with Dutch requests to reduce a number of “high risks” cited in the audit.

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