We Must Enhance Cross-Border Data Flows — Here’s Why

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January 16, 2023

Cross-border e-commerce is worth an estimated $2.7 trillion worldwide. Much of this wealth creation relies on cross-border data flows — a status quo that is increasingly under threat.

However, cross-border data flows are increasingly becoming an arena for friction between states and frustration among businesses. Fragmented regulatory regimes are holding back what should be an even more transformative — and life-enhancing — digital revolution.

The basic dilemma is this: countries know that allowing data to flow across borders has wide-ranging benefits, but they are reluctant to give up control. Regulating how data is used within their own jurisdictions is hard enough; they don’t always trust outside organizations — be they governments or technology companies — to steward their citizens’ data responsibly. The result has been a growing number of often confusing, conflicting data regulations. Add in language barriers and other country-specific obstacles, and the task for those who want to want to maximise the potential of data while complying with national regulations becomes even more daunting.

VIA The World Economic Forum