Posts Under: International Policy

“What’s This New European Privacy Law About?”: Demystifying the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

With just over a week until the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, companies around the world are coming into compliance with the far-reaching law. Inboxes everywhere have been overflowing with consent notifications over the past few months. If you’re just getting started on GDPR or generally curious, here is a brief overview of the GDPR. Disclaimer – GDPR is broadly written and is context-specific. If your company is in need of compliance help, consider engaging with an outside firm to address your compliance needs.

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Tariffs Will Impede the Development of the Internet of Things (IOT) in the United States

The Internet of Things (IOT) is another ongoing transformational technology that is changing and will continue to change our lives.  Gartner calculates that there were roughly 8.4 billion IOT connected devices in 2017 and there will be about 20.4 billion in 2020.   This SIIA White Paper describes the benefits for consumers, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.    The United States, among other countries (including China) is taking advantage of the opportunities presented by IOT.  The important thing in this context is to maintain and, if possible, expand the American IOT adoption rate.  Why is this important?  First, it matters because the United States has a comparative advantage over China in this space.  Second, manufacturing, a sector prioritized by the Trump Administration, will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of IOT.  Third, consumers benefit economically from IOT, but the technology is also a matter of conve ...

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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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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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AI Landscape: China Overtaking the United States is Possible but Not Inevitable

SIIA has done many artificial intelligence (AI) spotlights this year where we have featured impressive, boundary-breaking technology in the space.  We have also released a handful of issue briefs, culminating in the most recent brief that we’ve released on Algorithms and Ethics.  What we have not done until this point, is feature how different countries and regions across the globe are prepared to handle AI, will benefit from AI, and how they plan to use AI in the future.  In an effort to compare these regions to each other, we will begin publishing the AI Landscape series as an accessory to the AI Spotlight series where we will do just these things.  We begin this series with a feature on China. China According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), global GDP will receive a boost by $16 trillion by 2030 as a result of AI technology.  Nearly half of all that growth will come from China with AI increasing GDP in China by an estimated 1% each year.  C ...

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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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