I just don't know enough about the German initiatives. But in general the EU does better in regulation than we do, re Facebook/Meta, Microsoft, and very much in negotiating drug prices with the manufacturers.

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Thank you for your post, Mr. Bauer. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the Germans’ efforts—and those of the EU more generally, I suppose—to introduce a much stronger data protection regime than that which we have in the United States. Of course, your points about bad actors and the generally “insecure” nature of the Internet still apply, but I wonder if you find any redeeming qualities in the German system?

Your anecdote about the credit card also struck a chord with me. I have worked with the homeless at times, and the hurdles presented by common data security measures can seem nearly insurmountable to them and others living on the margins of society. How so? Well, to get a job today, one often needs to apply online, which often requires an email address, which, if one loses his password, can only be unlocked by two-factor authentication via a previously registered device, which, if it has been lost, or if it’s been disconnected due to one not having the funds for a phone plan, can’t be swapped out for another device. The homeless—or others who fall through the cracks—often face all manner of data-related complications like this as they attempt to reintegrate into normal society. Coupled with the fact that many of them are low IQ or otherwise lacking in executive functioning, this can mean that many are simply unable to get out of these bad situations without extensive tech support. Of course, this wasn’t at all the case only 20-30 years ago.

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