On July 8, GMF, in cooperation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, hosted a roundtable discussion around the publication of a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on “Business Without Borders: The Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity.” Co-authors of the report Adam Schlosser, director, Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bridget Treacy, partner, Hunton & Williams presented their findings which were followed by commentaries from Martin Wrigley, general manager europe, App Developers Alliance. The event, which gathered close to 60 participants representing EU institutions and member states, tech and non-tech businesses, civil society and academia, was moderated by Guillaume Xavier-Bender, transatlantic fellow at GMF.
The discussion took stock of the report’s findings on current barriers to data flows and proposed new paths and proposals for policy makers and business. Participants agreed to differentiate issues related to governmental access to data, and those related to commercial use of data. With an the number cases of data localization throughout the world increasing, the discussion looked at challenges facing small and local industries; data localization could prevent small businesses from capitalizing on possible gains linked to open access to the global economy through data. In addition participants addressed current systems regulating data flows and data protection, and called for greater flexibility. A one size fits all system of protection can be counterproductive; by “unbundling” issues related to data and connectivity, businesses and policymakers have the ability to find a common ground when it comes to maximizing the benefits of increased data flows, and the appropriate level of protection for citizens’ and consumers’ rights. More specifically on EU and U.S. relations, the need for further dialogue and collaboration on data flows and data protection is crucial, especially in the ambitious framework of setting global standards through TTIP and other fora of cooperation.