What you need to know
With governments across the world offering data-driven technologies to create new services, artificial intelligence and IoT, most data is free-flowing across borders. The current approach to governing cross-border data flows through trade agreements has not led to binding, universal or interoperable rules governing the use of data. Trade diplomats first established principles to govern cross-border data flows and then drafted e-commerce language in free trade agreements (FTAs), rather than through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Data-driven services will require a different domestic and international regulatory environment than that developed to facilitate e-commerce.
This paper describes how trade in data is different from trade in goods or services. It then examines analogies used to describe data as an input, which can help us understand how data could be regulated. Next, it discusses how trade policymakers are regulating trade in data and how these efforts have created a patchwork. Finally, it suggests an alternative approach.
In the 'Five Steps to Help Policy Makers Prepare to Build Rules to Govern Cross-border Data Flows' section, the paper discusses what policymakers on a national and international level can do to govern cross-border-data including creating national data strategies, collaborate internationally on interpolable strategy, clarify the rules at the WTO governing cross-border data flows, find common ground at WTO on what trade-distorting practices should be banned and set national responses to state actions that distort cross-border data flows.
While data and information have long been a key component of trade, it is now creating new forms of trade. With these new uses for data, there is a requirement for new ways of thinking about data. The current state of rules governing cross-border data is giving rise to data realms, for instance, the three big digital markets — the United States, the European Union and China — have taken different approaches to cross-border data flows. This patchwork approach is causing problems for nations such as Canada, Mexico and Australia, which have (or seek to build) strong trade relationships with the big three, and must choose which approach to follow.
Value to the UAE Government
With the ‘Dubai Data strategy’ already in place and Abu Dhabi’s strategy for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ launched in 2017, the UAE has long been on the way to a data revolution.
Most recently, at a round table that concluded the World Government Summit (WGS 2019), experts agreed that possessing correct data about citizens empowers a nation to protect them and provide assistance that is targeted and approachable.
While data policies and inclusion took center stage at the discussion, the strategies in place currently are targeting a role of data within the country, rather than international sharing and laws. This will soon become a crucial area of discussion especially for the UAE where the majority of the population are expatriate residents. A transparent framework stemming from a multidisciplinary approach would allow this huge amount of data to be utilized safely and efficiently.
Read more: https://www.cigionline.org/publications/data-different-why-world-needs-new-approach-governing-cross-border-data-flows