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Cross-border data flows examined in Asian study

A paper published by Brookings looks at the importance of cross-border data flows, taking Asia as a model, and why they need regulating to stimulate the digital economy. Among the points:

  • While the economic and trade opportunities from connectivity and data flows are significant, governments are increasingly introducing data localisation measures, which restrict data flows.
  • Governments restrict cross-border data flows with several goals in mind, including to improve citizens’ personal privacy, ensure rapid access to data by law enforcement officials, protect or ensure national security, improve economic growth or economic competitiveness, and to level the regulatory playing field.
  • In most cases, data localisation is suboptimal as there are ways to achieve regulatory goals with less impact on growth and trade.
  • Restrictions on cross-border data flows harm both the competitiveness of the country implementing the policies and other countries.
  • One way forward is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR). The US-EU Privacy Shield is another.
  • Cybersecurity is not necessarily strengthened when data is kept locally, and could be weakened; cloud security across countries can add resilience.
  • For law enforcement, a reform of mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) rather than localisation would be best. 

Meanwhile the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, which held its second event in Ottawa, came up with the Ottawa Roadmap to address jurisdictional challenges on the internet, with cross-border issues common to all. It will be working on this up to a Berlin event in 2019. See more here

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

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