Data protection, cybersecurity and the potential for misinformation online are expected to top the agenda of a series of meetings between Seán Kelly MEP and technology and software companies in Silicon Valley, California next week (2-5 April). Mr Kelly, who led negotiations for EU Parliament on the General Data Protection Regulation which comes into force on May 25th, is participating in the meetings on request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of which he is a Member.

“Our mission to Silicon Valley, where we will meet leading digital and tech firms, researchers in the field and US politicians, comes at an important time ahead of the implementation deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25th May 2018 which I led negotiations on for the EPP Group in the European Parliament. Not only that, but cyber security and the concern for potential misinformation campaigns during elections are also very much to the fore.

“GDPR will replace current data protection laws in the EU and importantly will give individuals more protection and control over how their own private data is collected, stored and used by others. It also makes companies with access to data or collecting such data more responsible for how they handle it. It is a subject very much in the public mind in the wake of the revelations over the Cambridge Analytical scandal, so I have no doubt that data protection will be high on the agenda in our meetings next week,” said Mr Kelly, a member of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the United States.

“After years of work on this legislation, I look forward to its implementation in May of this year. While it requires businesses to be more vigilant in ensuring they are processing data within the legal requirements, the GDPR will allow for companies to work under one law making it cheaper and easier for them to do business in Europe. Certain rules encouraging innovation were also introduced and all these measures will further boost European competitiveness whilst at the same time protecting individual personal data.”

The Ireland South MEP will meet with senior representatives of cyber security company, Palo Alto Neworks; Intel; Rippel – a currency exchange and remittance network; AT&T – the world’s largest telecommunications company; Google; Sentinel One – a cybersecurity software provider; SAP;  and Symantec. The MEP delegation will also have an exchange of views with the NASA Ames Research Centre and Stanford University Professors.

“I look forward to hearing from the businesses producing cybersecurity software on their view of the very serious issue of the potential for further misinformation campaigns online targeting elections in Europe and beyond. Cybersecurity is not limited to influence on elections, but poses economic and energy security threats too,” added Mr Kelly, the Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament.

Mr Kelly, a former GAA President, will also meet with members of San Francisco GAA. Gaelic Games have been played in the San Francisco area for over a hundred years.

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