Posts by: Carl

SIIA and Congressional Blockchain Caucus Pack a Full House at Yesterday’s Event on “Mainstreaming Blockchain in Business and Government: Separating Hype from Reality”

Yesterday’s event on blockchain, which was framed by SIIA’s Issue Brief, enticed great attendance and sophisticated audience involvement.  You can view the event on Facebook here.  It is worthwhile taking a look even just at the first ten minutes with Congressmen Schweikert’s and Polis’ interventions.  Their commitment and passion for this technology’s potential is palpable.  We are lucky to have this bipartisan approach to reviewing blockchain. We were also lucky to have an all-star cast of panelists: Robert L. Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy; Brian Trackman, Attorney Lead, Counsel, LabCFTC and CFTC Office of General Counsel; Thomas Savage, Lead Blockchain Researcher, Centers for Disease Control; David Egts, Chief Technologist, North America Public Sector, Red Hat; Jon West, Head of Platforms, Technology Department, Thomson Reuters; Angela Angelovska-Wil ...

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A Fresh Look at Digital Trade in North America: We May be Underestimating the Economic Significance of Data Flows

Last week on December 1, SIIA partnered with George Washington University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation to take “A Fresh Look at Digital Trade in North America.” The livestream can be accessed by anybody who has a Facebook account and is available here.  Pictures from the event can be found here on the Institute for International Economics Facebook page.  There is also Politico reporting from the discussion.  The NAFTA renegotiation is a top SIIA goal and the Association’s priorities can be found in this testimony.    

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Takeaways from Two Georgetown Fintech Week Panels

Last week from October 18-20, Georgetown University hosted its “First Annual Fintech Week.”  The announcement of the event and program can be found here.  Georgetown Law, IIEL, NEX, and Thomson Reuters sponsored Fintech Week.  It was a truly first-class gathering with candid and rich conversations involving industry representatives, tech entrepreneurs, regulators, legal specialists, compliance leaders, law enforcement representatives and others. I attended the October 19 panels entitled “Blockchain & Beyond: Distributed Ledgers and the Future of Payments” and “Combatting the Dark Side of Innovation: Cybersecurity and Money Laundering.”  I am glad I did because the panels touched on mutually relevant issues.  Major takeaways from the panels included the need for partnerships and give and take between partners; the need for interoperability for scale, but maybe inter-sectoral interoperability is not needed for now; bloc ...

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E-Commerce and Developing Country SMEs

Yesterday on October 11, 2017, Thomson Reuters organized an event in Washington, D.C. on “Innovative Approaches to Advancing Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Globally.  It was definitely timely given the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund to have conversation about the role that innovation plays in advancing SMEs.  Moderated by Howard Schneider (Federal Reserve Correspondent), speakers included Dr. Kim Bettcher (Senior Knowledge Manager, Center for International Private Enterprise), Tina Ghanem (Head of SME Business, Global Growth Operations, Thomson Reuters), Dr. Nicole Goldin, President, NRG Advisory & NonResident Senior Advisor, CSIS), David Hartingh (Executive Vice President & CEO, International Executive Service Corps), Dr. Wanda Lopuch (Chair, Board of the Global Sourcing Council), Kathleen Neumann (President and COO, SerenityShares), and Gabriel Thoumi (Director, Capital Markets, Climate Advisors).  ...

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ePrivacy Regulation: SIIA Urges EU to Take Needed Time to Fix Concerns About Impact on Digital Content and Services

A piece in DigiDay yesterday draws attention to the fact that publishers are at risk under the draft ePrivacy Regulation under consideration in Brussels. At this time, the draft Regulation is in a state of flux, and the outcome is hard to know, with a possible tightening of the current requirements on cookies. Under the current ePrivacy Directive, often referred to as the “Cookie Directive” publishers merely need to get consent, by having readers click a box that they consent to the use of cookies.  As the DigiDay article points out, the new regulation could empower browsers to play more of a gatekeeper role, which is one of several possible outcomes. SIIA has been active in highlighting the problems for European policymakers.  On July 1, 2016, we filed comments arguing that the proposal should not be extended to software and digital content publishers and over-the-top-content providers, who would continue to be regulated under the more flexible rules of th ...

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Call For Fintech To Be Included In NAFTA Modernization Underscores Need For Cross-Border Data Flows

Yesterday on August 16, 2017, the first round of the NAFTA modernization talks started.  Our views on NAFTA modernization can be found here.  SIIA wishes the negotiators speedy success and urges the United States, Canada, and Mexico to adopt modern digital trade rules and strengthen respect for intellectual property rights.

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Civil Society Groups are Moving the Goalposts on EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) issued a press release today on a letter and brief the two organizations sent to European Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova arguing for invalidation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.  The letter and brief can be found here.  On substance of the criticism, these groups continue to sell the U.S. surveillance framework short, failing to recognize extensive transparency and safeguards that underlie the U.S. framework.  That aside, invalidation on these terms is not appropriate because the European Commission’s reasoned and detailed adequacy decision was based on information about U.S. surveillance practices and laws that the Commission had when the decision was released on July 12, 2016. After reviewing the commitments self-certifying organizations would make under the privacy shield and the enforcement mechanisms available under U.S. law, the Commission said, “the United States ensures an a ...

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G20 Makes the Right Calls on “Harnessing Digitalisation”

The July 7-8, 2017 G20 Leaders’ Declaration includes good language on harnessing digitalization.  SIIA hopes that the ideas in this and other sections of the Declaration will contribute to “Shaping an interconnected world.”   Supporting the free flow of information while respecting applicable legal frameworks for privacy, data protection, and intellectual property rights is the correct approach.  The leaders said that the G20 Roadmap for Digitalisation, which can be found here (see Annex paper 1), will guide future work.  The roadmap contains 11 policy areas where the G20 would like to see action. The G20 wants to improve world-wide access to digital technologies, which means more people need to have access to the Internet.  So, the leaders encourage G20 countries to develop digital strategies that support the ITU’s Global Connect 2020 Agenda goals.  The optimal way to do so is for countries to have a regulatory environme ...

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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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