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Our country should prioritise and assert the economic rights of our data

A group of 76 members including the US, European Union, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore are now working to develop trade rules for e-commerce for the global stage.

At the core of this discussion will be on protection, localisation and cross-border flows of data and privacy on e-commerce across the globe - the Economic Rights Of Data of each participating nation.

What is Economic Rights of Data? In simple terms, in countries like China, Australia, EU and very soon India, their data protection act requires organisations to keep the data they collected in the country where they operate in and they can't transfer or stored it outside these countries. Effectively, it affects multinationals who is not headquartered in these countries. These countries have the rights, economically, legally and in every other way of description over these data collected from their country. 

The invention of the Internet and the free flow of data that it has enabled is the biggest advancement in trade facilitation since air travel. The digital economy depends on economies of scale, openness, and efficient sourcing from throughout the world. Cross-border data flows and the Internet serving as a marketplace or a distribution channel have enabled more cross-border trade, competition and innovation. Practically every industry sector has been affected by the new data-driven economy, which has also created a dependency on a supply-chain of services. Many services depend on customer and employee data being accessible across borders. This increasing dependency on services for global commerce and manufacturing is ever increasing thanks to improved market access, the Internet, and e-commerce. 

It is undeniable that commerce and online services produce an unprecedented amount of data. This sheer increase in quantity has pushed data up the political agenda, capturing the attention of businesses and policy-makers alike. Significant advances in data processing technologies, increases in processing power and speed, as well as the further development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have all enabled countries and organisations to unlock new insights from their data assets, often in the form of trends, patterns and associations.

This potential to turn data into useful insights is an important factor in creating economic value, as these insights can be used by decision-makers to optimise the allocation of resources and develop new capabilities such as transforming public services, improve consumer experiences, unlocking new treatments for healthcare to enabling smart devices.

On the inverse, the rights is also a liability particularly where personal data is concerned. Organisations who are operating in countries where data protection for the individuals includes this 'right to withdraw/delete' for the individuals, have to take steps to severely restrict access and usage well beyond the requirements of data protection laws in these countries. 


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