The New York TimesThe New York Times

How the Netherlands is taming Big Tech

By Natasha Singer

19 Jan 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

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.

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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