April 24, 2023
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WITSA Joins Global Industry Coalition; Urges G7 to Advance Data Free Flow With Trust
Fairfax, VA: The World Innovation, Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and a global coalition of 35 industry and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Canada, Europe, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others, have signed onto a joint statement voicing their support for the G7’s efforts to promote Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT).
Ahead of the upcoming G7 Summit in Hiroshima, the Global Data Alliance has convened a cross-sector group of 35 industry associations and NGOs urging G7 leaders to support DFFT – an initiative first proposed by Japan in 2019 to promote digital trust and the ability to transfer data across transnational digital networks.
The 35 organizations are urging G7 Parties to support international legal norms and best practices on cross-border data. In particular, governments should not use data transfer rules to discriminate against non-nationals and ensure that when such rules are needed, they are narrowly framed. The Global Industry Statement also puts forward several concrete DFFT work proposals, noting:
- “We … urge G7 Parties to explore concrete approaches to advancing DFFT. These should include: (a) aligning their own data transfer policies across economies and with international standards; (b) promoting and strengthening cross-border data interoperability mechanisms, such as the Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Forum; (c) analyzing the importance of data transfers – and the costs of restrictions – in key sectors; and (d) collectively supporting the OECD Declaration on Government Access to Personal Data Held by Private Sector Entities.”
“In today’s global economy, consumers, regulators, and businesses all benefit from a constant stream of data flowing seamlessly back and forth across national borders,” stated WITSA Chairman Dr. Sean Seah.
“Businesses use data to create valuable products and services, enhance productivity, reduce costs, improve efficiency, deter fraud, protect consumers, and foster economic growth and jobs,” said WITSA CEO Dato’ Dan E Khoo. “To secure these benefits, it is essential to have clear, consistent rules in place that allow for the unimpeded flow of data except as limited to legitimate public policy objectives.” In general, National Security, Data Privacy etc. should not be used as a lever to restrict data flows, and mandate data localization.
WITSA strongly supports Japan’s leadership on DFFT. Cross-border data transfers support efforts to address challenges relating to cybersecurity, digital transformation, climate change, financial inclusion, public health, privacy, and digital trade. WITSA and its industry partners are urging the G7 to support a public-private commitment to digital trust, where governments do not limit data transfers for protectionist purposes or through measures that are more restrictive than necessary. The private sector should build trust by adhering to high standards of digital responsibility, including through the adoption of strong internal controls regarding cybersecurity, data security, financial transparency, and regulatory compliance.
WITSA has an established policy advocating against restrictions of the free flow of information across borders in its data flows paper, calling ‘data’ an essential resource for healthy economic growth and warning that that excessive restrictions on the flow of data hinders the barrier to secure management and protection of data.
Read the multi-industry statement in full here.
The World Innovation, Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is the leading recognized international voice of the global digital technology industry, whose members from over 80 countries and economies represent more than 90 percent of the world tech market. WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance industry growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in digital technology products and services; strengthening WITSA’s national industry associations; and providing members with a broad network of professional contacts.
WITSA members are leaders in a globally interconnected marketplace. Because the challenges facing the digital technology industry are undisputedly global in nature, WITSA members work together to achieve a shared vision on important issues of common interest. WITSA makes it possible for its members – ranging from Mongolia and Argentina to Kenya and the United States – to identify common issues and priorities, exchange valuable information, and present a united position on industry issues. For more information on WITSA, please visit https://witsa.org/.