New Report Highlights Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 2:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today released a report highlighting the benefits of cross-border data transfers across all sectors of the economy. “Business Without Borders: The Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity,” developed in coordination with the global privacy experts at Hunton & Williams LLP, also presents pragmatic solutions for developing international mechanisms that both protect privacy and facilitate data flows.

“In today’s economy the freedom to transfer data across borders has become linked with the ability to trade freely,” said Adam Schlosser, director of the U.S. Chamber’s Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation. “The trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and services trade negotiations present opportunities to bridge differences among privacy regimes and help ensure the free flow of data. Governments, businesses, and consumers should not have to choose between the privacy and prosperity—we can take a path to achieve both.” 

“Many of the cross-border data transfer restrictions currently in place were established prior to the digital revolution,” said Lisa Sotto, head of the Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice at Hunton & Williams LLP. “The laws were not crafted to address the ways in which businesses and consumers use data today. We need to rethink how we approach cross-border data flows so the global economy can continue to thrive now and into the future.”

The report identifies key concepts critical to ensuring agile cross-border data transfer regimes that will support the global data flows of the future:

  • Recognition that there are many different approaches to regulating cross-border data transfers, and that differing mechanisms can ensure a similar desired level of data protection.
  • Movement away from rigid one-size-fits-all regulations toward more outcome-focused regimes.
  • A clear delineation between the issue of government access to data and the distinct issue of cross-border data transfers in a commercial context.
  • Assurance that the frameworks we develop today are fit for tomorrow.
  • Redirecting responsibility for the protection of personal data to those who use the data. 
  • Implementing strong, binding trade agreement commitments that prohibit data localization requirements, support unimpeded data flows, and encourage interoperability among privacy regimes.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.