sb-nz logo
Story image

APEC says there's a balance between privacy and data flow for digital trade

20 Mar 2018

The future of trade will share a balance between e-commerce and consumer protection, according to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

It describes digital technology as a ‘great leveller, bringing together people and data across borders.

But that data flow brings challenges to government and policymakers when dealing with data protection.

US Department for Commerce’s Michael Rose spoke at a dialogue on digital trade between public and private sector experts, held in Papua New Guinea earlier this month.

The dialogue outlined APEC’s mission to embrace the digital future while tackling current and emerging issues. Those issues include restrictions on cross-border data flows that protect the public interest.

“Every business operating in more than one area will tell you that data flows are necessary for even the most basic business functions, from processing payroll and insurance for employees, to logging sales data,” explains Rose, who is also APEC’s Data Privacy Subgroup vice-chair.

That, he says, is a great challenge: “Convincing reticent minds on the merits of the free flow of information.”

Unlike tariffs that are easily identifiable at the border, modern trade barriers such as those that affect data flows are not as easy to spot and they are not as easily assessed.

While there is no global or regional norm for digital trade, there are systems available for data flow and data protection.

APEC also operates the APEC Privacy Framework. It also operates a Cross-Border Privacy Rules System which provides protection for Asia-Pacific consumers and ensures data flow for its member countries.

While New Zealand has been a member of APEC since 1989, it does not currently participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System.

Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, the United States and Mexico do participate in the System.

The rules apply to data controllers, including organisations that control the collection, holding, processes or use of data.

“Over the last two years, participation among APEC members has more than doubled,” Rose says.

“Now, nearly half of APEC economies have committed to participating in the system or are already members.”

APEC believes that as more economies join the system, it progresses to a better connected and free trade digital environment.

Working with industry to raise standards for both privacy protection and cybersecurity and ensuring market access and correcting trade barriers are important, APEC states.

“We in these fora can take a leading role in advancing digital trade policy across the world,” Rose concludes.

Story image
Research: Younger cybersecurity pros more fearful of being replaced by AI
According to the findings, 53% of respondents under 45 years old either agreed or strongly agreed that AI and ML are a threat to their job security, despite 89% of this demographic believing that it would improve their jobs.More
Story image
Creating private data regulations for employees
Whether employees are hired on a part-time or full-time basis, everyone must know about data privacy regulations. Everyone needs to be responsible for keeping the organisation’s data secure. More
Story image
NordVPN upgrades infrastructure with launch of colocated servers
"The greatest advantage of having colocated servers is their complete ownership, which guarantees access only by our authorised people."More
Story image
BlueVoyant acquires Managed Sentinel, builds out Microsoft MSS offerings
“Combining Managed Sentinel’s Azure Sentinel deployment expertise with BlueVoyant’s MDR capabilities will help customers operationalise and maximise Microsoft security technologies."More
Story image
CrowdStrike targets Zero Trust blind spot with new offering
CrowdStrike has officially launched CrowdStrike Falcon Zero Trust Assessment (ZTA), designed to aid in overall security posture by delivering continuous real-time assessments across all endpoints in an organisation regardless of the location, network or user. More
Story image
Palo Alto Networks launches new SD-WAN solutions and enhancements
Palo Alto Networks has introduced two new SD-WAN appliances and enhancements to its next-generation SD-WAN solution, expanding the company’s CloudGenix SD-WAN solutions reach.More