Why Privacy Alarmists are Wrong About Data Rules in Big Trade Deals

Stephen Ezell July 15, 2015
July 15, 2015

It was only a matter of time before populist-minded skeptics sounded privacy alarms over provisions the U.S. government is currently negotiating in trade agreements to prevent "data protectionism," writes Stephen Ezell in the Christian Science Monitor. Case in point, Emma Woollacott’s recent Forbes article that incorrectly asserts that trade negotiators have slipped provisions into the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) that threaten privacy and security. Ms. Woollacott contends that people’s privacy could be threatened because language in TISA "could bar countries from trying to control where their citizens’ personal data is held or whether it’s accessible from outside the country." But the notion that data must be stored locally to be secure or to maintain privacy protections is patently false, as ITIF has shown in a detailed report. The security of data does not depend on where it is stored, only the measures used to store the data securely. When organizations can choose to store their data with any provider anywhere in the world, they have access to best-of-breed solutions providers – whether they’re located in the cloud or are using servers in another country – that have the best documented track records of securely managing a citizen’s or customer’s data and protecting their privacy rights.