Data flows

Continued fast paced digitization of advanced and developing economies continues to elevate the importance of electronic data transfers to ensure that international trade continues to flourish. There are no international agreements in place to regulate international data flows in a predictable way, as digitization of industries, IoT, Industry 4.0 and etc is expected to take off, absence of predictable international data transfers will put societies, citizens and economies at risk. Contrary to popular view it is possible to create predictable rules that both foster open international data flows and protect national privacy standards.

EU and international data flows

Europe is in a unique position to set a positive global example by adopting a data flow, free trade negotiating position that underwrites the principle of open economy and ensuring the protection of human rights. This is the right way forward for a hyper-connected,open society, which we call the Networked Society.

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Data is the blood running through the veins of the Networked Society

Why are data flows, or cross border data transfers, significant for the functioning of the digital economy? The use of ICT depends on data flows, much in the same way a human body is dependent on the blood running through its veins.

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Legal analysis data flows and privacy

International data flows, at present, do not benefit from any internationally agreed trade rules that ensure predictability or free cross-border movement. EU rules on protecting personal data are potentially vulnerable if challenged at the WTO. As it is in the interest of the EU to preserve these rules, they should negotiate provisions allowing data flows in a bilateral or multilateral trade context.

Explore the issues behind data flow regulation