In the Global Battle Over Data Flows, Data Liberals Must Fight Back Against Data Nationalists and Interventionists
“All Gaul is divided into three parts,” Julius Caesar famously wrote in his account of Rome’s Gallic Wars. Two thousand years later, as Nigel Cory and Daniel Castro write in Global Trade Magazine, there is a global policy battle underway over how countries should treat cross-border data flows, and it too is divided into three tribes: Data nationalists, including Russia and China, insist on data localization, believing that it is necessary to ensure national and economic security.
Data interventionists, especially the European Union, erect barriers to data flows unless other countries agree to their terms. Data liberals embrace the global free flow of data, recognizing that legal responsibilities can accompany the data wherever it goes and that data flows are critical to modern trade and innovation.
Unfortunately, data liberals are losing ground as barriers to data flows continue to spread. To respond, nations embracing data liberalism, especially Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States, should work collectively to develop new rules to support data flows and more forcefully resist efforts to limit data flows.