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Gary Shapiro's group is responsible for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The head of a major U.S. tech trade group made an alarming claim to lawmakers Wednesday: new European data privacy rules will cost lives.

Why it matters: Major U.S. tech companies are working to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation that goes into effect next month, even as they try to head off potential privacy regulations stateside.

What they're saying: “Europe’s going forward with [GDPR] and frankly it’s going to hurt American companies," said Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro at a House Oversight Committee hearing on artificial intelligence. “But it’s also going to kill people, because if you can’t transfer, for example, medical information from one hospital to another in the same region, that has life consequences.”

  • GDPR puts new requirements on how companies can use and share data collected from people in the European Union. It will go into effect next month.
  • Asked after the hearing if he wanted to clarify his statement, Shapiro directed Axios to Qualcomm Life Chief Medical Officer James Mault. Mault said that "GDPR is going in a direction that can very inevitably make it harder, more cumbersome, more expensive to share critical health information when it might really matter" but also said that users should have a clear view into how their medical data is being used and shared.
  • Qualcomm Life builds products that make use of medical data — including by storing it in the cloud — so has a financial stake in this debate.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.