As Turk-internet.com we attended the congress and made an interview with Prof. Jon Garon, who made a successful presentation about the privacy rights in Europe and United States. Mr. Garon is a Professor of Law at Hamline University School of Law, and a counsel at law firm Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, P.C. You can find the transcript and the video of our interview below:
Turk Internet: Hello Mr Garon.
Jon Garon: Hello.
Turk Internet: We are here in Ankara for a congress. You’ve made a very impressive presentation. I would like to ask you what the focuses of United States in telecom law sector are.
Jon Garon: Well the telecom law sector in US really is focused on integrating broadband technologies with traditional telecommunications technologies. So in expansion of broadband more generally greater access to the public, so that there is the ability for access for broadband even for those who may not otherwise be able to afford it, the expansion of media opportunities that focus on the diversity of the voice and on localism. So that more local content is created. And that’s with the strategic plan of the FCC.
Turk Internet: I see. I was also just about to ask about the FCC. We have two different authorities in Turkey, one for media and the other is for telecom. Could you tell us what FCC is interested in United States?
Jon Garon: We’ve seen an evolution in US in the role of the Federal Communications Commission. And as you point out it does have jurisdiction over the airwaves, so over the content of the information that’s on general television, as well as regulation over the general infrastructure. There is far less regulation over the content on the internet and there is an intermediary level of regulation over the cable system. And that I think kind of highlights one of the issues both for the FCC and perhaps maybe relevant with the issue in Turkey. And that is when you have either multiple enforcement agencies or you have different standards for different technologies, which will end up in great deal of inconsistency. And so one of the other goals for the FCC is to reduce that inconsistency and to better integrate and understand that the nature of how one gets one’s media is really less relevant than seeing media as a whole. And whether it’s coming over the airwaves or over your cell phone is one large system.
Turk Internet: Okay. You were also talking about differences between Europe’s and United States’ systems. Could you tell us something about that?
Jon Garon: In the program we discussed the role of privacy in particular. And this is an area where the European Union and most European countries are actually significantly ahead of United States. The United States has identified particular types of information: A healthcare information, and fundamental services information as necessary to protect and these generally left the individual alone. In Europe, with the data privacy directive and database directive, the individual is given much broader protections over how third parties use the information that is collected about them and to have much better ability to correct misinformation that’s been gathered. And as a result, the US is learning from Europe in how to better regulate data privacy and provide better privacy protections for its citizens.
Turk Internet: And here is my last question. What do you think about the technology and legal issues? Which one is ahead right now? We know it is technology ahead and regulations are following the developments. But is this a problem or is it natural?
John Garon: I think it is inevitable. The ability of the lawyers to anticipate where the technology is going to go is an impossible task. And if we try to anticipate every new technology, I think we’ll end up undermining the creativity everybody wants. What I would like to see, and this is one of the things I am writing on, is to develop a set of broad principles that as new technologies develop they fit into those principles. So that we are (not going to be) looking at a specific type of technology when we are protecting an individual’s privacy rights. We are (not going to be) looking at a specific type of technology when we are looking to protect the rights of an author that should be protecting right of free speech and personal dignity. We will be looking at those fundamentals and make sure that all technology regulations that come forward or the new technologies that have not yet been identified are viewed through those lenses. So as long as we do that, I think law and technology will continue a healthy relationship.
Turk Internet: Thank you Mr. Garon.
John Garon: It’s my pleasure.
You can view the Turkish translation of this interview at Prof. Jon Garon: Veri Mahremiyeti Konusunda Avrupa Amerika’nn lerisinde page.