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Call to unblock data flows in Asia

Governments in Asia can expand the region’s digital economy and unlock further socio-economic benefits for their citizens by removing unnecessary restrictions on the movement of data internationally, according to a report by the GSMA. The study, “Regional privacy frameworks and cross-border data flows”, reveals that striking the right balance in the region’s data privacy regulations could significantly enhance economic activity and future innovation in 5G, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). “Over the past decade, international data flows have increased global GDP by 10.1%, and their annual contribution to global GDP has already surpassed US $2.8 trillion – a larger share than the global trade in goods. The ability to transfer, store and process data enables commerce, spurs innovation, and drives the development of new technologies, platforms, services and infrastructure.” Although the Asia-Pacific region has made good progress in the development of data privacy frameworks that protect consumers while also allowing data to flow across borders, the report highlights that variances in data privacy laws across countries is holding back trade and innovation. The report also calls for better links at a regional level between Asia’s two main privacy frameworks – the ASEAN Framework on Personal Data Protection and the APEC Privacy Framework – to enable cross-border data flows. “The immense economic opportunities arising from the digital economy and data flows are indisputable,” said Boris Wojtan, director of privacy, GSMA. “Working towards a pan-Asian approach to data privacy is critical to protecting the rights of individuals and unlocking this economic potential, not only in Asia, but around the world. Regulating people’s personal information by a patchwork of geographically bound privacy laws will only restrict how Asian companies can innovate and bring better products and services to consumers in the future. Now is an important time for all countries to take actions to bridge the differences in their privacy regulation and achieve greater alignment.” The study evaluated various regional data privacy frameworks and their key principles, while diving down into individual countries to identify national approaches to privacy regulation. Read more

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

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