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A European Union flag seen flying in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Brais G Rouco/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Europeans view privacy as a human rights issue, leading regulators there to be much more skeptical of data-driven businesses like social media. Americans are also beginning to worry about how data is used on some platforms like Facebook, particularly after news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke this weekend.

The big picture: Europe's history and culture plays a large role in shaping its views toward privacy. Granted, this history has to do with government access to personal information, but it's since extended to businesses.

Last week at South by Southwest, Damien Levie, head of the E.U.'s trade and agriculture at its U.S. embassy, provided context on the upcoming data privacy law:

"I think where we’re coming from in Europe is that privacy is a constitutional issue, it's human rights issue. You have not only these European Communist regimes but also the Nazi dictatorships regimes…. People know very well what it means for the government to have access to your data.”

U.S. context: Julie Brill, currently deputy general counsel at Microsoft and a former FTC Commissioner, added:

The U.S. does have very robust privacy laws but they’re disaggregated and hard to understand. Privacy is a fundamental right but it is vis-a-vis government intrusion, under the 4th Amendment. But it is deeper and broader in Europe."

Cultural attitudes impact social media use: A Pew survey last year found that internet access doesn't necessarily lead to social media use, including in European countries like Germany, where only 37% of people use social media.

Go deeper: How U.S. and E.U. leaders differ on tech competition policy; The biggest anti-trust story you haven't heard about.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.