DEC 07, 2020 | EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
Op-Ed: The Need for Global Convergence of Privacy Rules
Lawyer | The Business Magazine, December 7, 2020
To keep data flowing, global convergence of privacy rules and discipline on data flows is needed. The more divergences that exist between privacy laws or frameworks, the more difficult data flows become. And if data does not flow, many digital tools and services now considered routine may no longer be available, at least not in their current form.
Integral to the discussion is agreeing acceptable government access to data and national security practices. The recent tensions surrounding international data transfers have been less about the misuse or mismanagement of personal data by companies than about the level of access that democratically elected governments should or should not have to the personal data of citizens in the conduit of legitimate public policy objectives, in particular criminal investigations and national security protection. A starting point could be for like-minded governments to agree on and commit to a set of principles and best practices for access to digital evidence and on appropriate levels of independent judiciary oversight.
These are issues that can only be solved by governments and agreed in the context of bilateral or multilateral discussions. Much is at stake, and policymakers will have to solve the difficult equation of how to adequately balance three fundamental elements: privacy, national security, and economic growth.
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