Posts Under: International

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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Hillary’s International Tech Proposals

On June 28, 2016, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton released her “Initiative on Technology & Innovation.”  SIIA does not endorse any particular presidential candidate, but we think nonetheless it is worthwhile commenting on the proposals.  Should presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump present technology policy proposals, we will comment on those too.    

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The Real World Impacts of Data Localization Policies

Data localization rules existed before the 2013 Snowden revelations.  However, they really took off afterwards.  Whether they are motivated by a genuine desire to protect privacy or because of industrial policy rationales, they are harmful to consumers and often do not enhance security.  For example, proposed Chinese “secure and controllable” regulations for the insurance sector would impose a data localization requirement.  In effect, this would raise costs for insurance customers in China and do nothing to enhance the security of their data.  SIIA is working with other trade associations to make this and other points with the Chinese government and the World Trade Organization.  See this June 2, 2016 letter from the United States Information Technology Office (USITO) on this topic.       There have been a variety of studies, which look into the costs of data localization.  In their paper on the costs of data localizatio ...

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Basic Universal Income Gets on the National and International Policy Agenda

Perhaps because of the June 5 vote in Switzerland, media outlets have recently focused increased attention on proposals for a basic universal income.  This is not a proposal whose time has come, but it is continuing its steady march toward the center of the national and international political agenda.

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Data Flows and the Surveillance Debate: Let's Have a Candid Discussion

Those of you who read SIIA blogs, statements, and testimony know that we are big proponents of data-driven innovation.  For such innovation to achieve its full potential, cross-border data flows are essential.  That is why we support Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) digital provisions so strongly and consider them a floor for additional digital provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).  We support interoperability mechanisms such as the EU-US Privacy Shield that allow companies to transfer data from one jurisdiction to another as long as they comply with the rules established in the mechanism.  This has nothing to do with undermining societal values such as privacy and everything to do with creating law-based data transfer mechanisms as we demonstrated at an October 9, 2015 Geneva event for TISA negotiators.  We are strong supporters of the EU-US Privacy Shield because it has the potential, ...

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Economic and Trade Impacts of Data Flows European Parliament Breakfast Debate

The European Parliament’s Pilar del Castillo led a February 17, 2016 breakfast debate on the economic and trade impacts of data flows.  The event was organized under the auspices of the European Internet Forum with SIIA serving as the industry lead organizer.   The speakers emphasized the following elements in the data flow debate.   Data flows matter to what might be considered traditional industrial enterprises as much as they matter to “technology” sector companies.  The EU has offensive digital trade goals – the recently concluded EU-U.S. Privacy Shield might make it easier for the Commission to pursue those goals in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) negotiations.  Common cooperative regulatory mechanisms need to be created in order ensure that data flows can continue to underpin global value chains (GVCs).  Europe-wide initiatives such as the Single Paymen ...

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