Posts Under: International

How Can the United States Promote Global U.S. Blockchain Competitiveness?

SIIA is a believer in blockchain’s potential as this Issue Brief makes clear and is interested in continuing the conversation we started with the Congressional Blockchain Caucus about how policy can be leveraged to promote blockchain-based solutions to real-world problems.  Broadly speaking, blockchain should be seen as one of several technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing that the U.S. government should promote as part of its overall foreign digital economic policy.  Given the fact that much ink has been spilled about how blockchain can make supply chains more efficient and transparent, streamline trade finance, and help customs authorities,  SIIA offers the following ideas for how policy could help advance blockchain adoption.  Include protection for blockchain in future trade agreements  One way of perhaps including such protection could be to include in future trade agreements the below language in yellow in the cross ...

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When it Comes to The Global AI Race, There is No Singular “Key” to Success

Yesterday, ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation held an event titled, “How Countries are Preparing for the Global AI Race.”  The panelists touched on the approaches that the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, and India are taking with respect to the development of AI.   As the panel progressed, it became clearer that there is no singular “key” to “winning” the global AI race. It is important to recognize that the challenges in AI advancement vary from country to country.  For example, China has a competitive advantage in terms of data, but it still has a considerable skills gap that is hindering that data from being utilized in an AI capacity.  According to panelist Robin Mishra of the German Embassy, Germany has a highly-skilled labor force and has invested a considerable amount in research and development, yet it lacks robust industry outside of manufacturing that can take advantage of further developing A ...

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SIIA Files Comments on International Internet Policy Priorities

Today, SIIA filed these comments to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on international Internet policy priorities.  The comments are in response to this NTIA Notice of Inquiry (NOI) soliciting stakeholder input.  SIIA’s suggested priorities are summarized below.  The first three priorities are particularly important because they lay the foundation for good international Internet policy, broadly speaking.

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Reasonable Implementation Key Now

Today, the Atlantic Council hosted an interesting panel discussion entitled: “Protectionism, Data Privacy, and the Transatlantic Partnership.”  European Commission Digital Affairs Counselor Peter Fatelnig, Atlantic Counsel Distinguished Fellow Fran Burwell, and the U.S. Chamber’s Senior Manager for Digital Affairs Kara Sutton provided a lot of substance and perspective on what is happening in the run-up to the GDPR’s May 25, 2018 entry-into-force.    Appropriately, although the event name started with “protectionism,” nobody discussed the GDPR in those terms.  That is because whatever one’s views are on whether the Regulation really will promote digital innovation in Europe, the GDPR per se is not a protectionist Regulation.  Besides, the train has left the station.  Companies around the world, including SIIA and its member companies, are racing to comply with the GDPR.  Currently, I spend about a quarter o ...

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EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement Falls Short on Data Flows

Today, the EU and Japan announced political agreement in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement.  Overall, this should be a positive development for EU and Japanese workers, consumers, and businesses.  But, it does fall short in one crucial regard.  There is no binding data flow obligation yet.  SIIA put out a statement on this gap today.  Instead of a binding data flow commitment now, the two sides agreed to conclude an accord on data flows in early 2018. 

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Trade Agreements and Data Protection: Changing GATS Article XIV is Not the Way to Go

In a March 30, 2017 opinion piece, “Don’t trade away data protection,” two leading Members of the European Parliament, Viviane Reding and Jan-Phillip Albrecht, suggest “strengthening data protection safeguards in the General Exception (known as GATS XIV) and E-Commerce chapters, and removing necessity and consistency tests.”  The idea behind the proposal is to make absolutely certain that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and perhaps other parts of the EU privacy acquis could not be successfully challenged as inconsistent with an affirmative cross-border data flow obligation.  This is a topic SIIA will comment on again in the coming months, likely in a longer form Issue Brief.  This blog discusses the proposal to remove the necessity test.

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Time for Congress to Clarify Rules on Law Enforcement Access to Overseas Data

Technology companies are increasingly challenged by requests by law enforcement to access data stored outside the U.S. This issue came to a head in July 2016, when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the U.S. Government in the case Microsoft v. United States, stating that the government cannot compel Microsoft, or other companies, to turn over customer emails stored on servers outside the United States.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to appeal this decision, and various other cases are making their way through the courts.

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Data Flows and Development - There is a link!

SIIA hosted a panel discussion for delegates to the World Trade Organization (WTO) E-Commerce Work Committee in Geneva on March 14, 2017.  UNCTAD’s Cecile Barayre, the Brookings Institution’s Joshua Meltzer, Tala’s Zach Marks, and Google’s Nicholas Bramble provided background information, which elicited many insightful questions.  One takeaway that is perhaps not obvious to all who participate in trade negotiations is that cross-border data flows are not necessarily synonymous with domestic deregulation.  This is consistent with SIIA’s view that governments should permit – indeed even encourage – cross-border data flows through offering data transfer interoperability mechanisms that enable cross-border data flows, but at the same time ensure compliance with national privacy and other laws.  This resource paper provides information on sources that governments and others can consult as they consider policy in this space.

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The Dangers of Deglobalization

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report entitled, Preventing Deglobalization: An Economic and Security Argument for Free Trade and Investment in ICT.  Given the Brexit vote earlier this year, the G-20 Summit earlier this week, and both major U.S. Presidential candidates’ vocal disapproval of trade deals, this report comes at an excellent time to counteract the public’s declining faith in globalization.   Concerns stemming from the results of a globalized ICT economy are not unjustified.  Some countries have adopted protectionist policies in an attempt to foster their own competitive economies in the global marketplace, and others have done it with national security in mind to ensure that globalized products do not contain malware inserted by a foreign country or company to conduct cyber theft or espionage.  These are both fair reasons for wanting to adjust policy to remedy these concerns.  However, as the Chamber’s report ...

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