Without much general awareness of the larger public, there are fresh American plans to choke an expected update of EU data protection laws. The plan is using a trade funnel torpedo and the fiction of non-tarrif trade discrimination. Sure, the current policy drift towards privacy/digital rights leads to a stronger position of Europe to defend the privacy of its citizens abroad. The midterm counter-measure proposed by the Americans would be IDEA:
“We suggest that the EU and the U.S. initiate negotiations over an International Digital Economy Accord (IDEA) based on the principle of the free flow of information. … The IDEA should address market access related problems, non-tariff barriers and service regulations. The exact design and content of the IDEA must of course be the subject of negotiations between the countries that have decided to join the “coalition of the willing” negotiating this agreement.
The negotiating agenda should reflect the practical concerns and experiences of firms engaged in the cross-border digital economy. Concerns related to the information, communications.
and technology (ICT) sector are numerous, especially since trade in ICT goods and services support the whole economy.
What is the perceived problem?
The ability of companies to process data and deliver services internationally is under serious threat. Regulators in many countries increasingly require personal data to be maintained on servers in the home jurisdiction. It is sometimes required that offshore services be relocated to the importing country and, in the case of China, data-processing hubs are obliged to be located within the regulated markets. Moreover, users of international digital services are being challenged more and more by national regulations on issues of data management, digital rights, data privacy and the location of commercial data, with growing nationalist pressures everywhere to use local services suppliers in these areas in order to generate local jobs.
And the solution: abolish data sovereignty:
The IDEA would seek to prohibit any requirements to locate information technology (IT) infrastructure (e.g. servers) within the domestic jurisdiction as a condition of permission to process data or to provide digital services. The IDEA would also encourage international harmonization of data privacy requirements, and encourage the adoption of internationally accepted security frameworks and the use of third party auditors to reassure regulators that data is properly protected without the need for cross-border restrictions.
The agreement could take various forms. Ideally it would be an agreement that provides for a negotiating mechanism to continually update its content, since the digital-economy changes quickly.”
I makes you wonder whether they forgot the SWIFT spying scandal where the United States had unauthorised access to highly sensitive European financial transaction data, simply because mirror servers were operating in the United States.