Joint Business Statement on Trusted Government Access to Personal Data

In light of the OECD’s work to develop policy guidance for trusted government access to personal data held by the private sector, USCIB joined with Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to release a joint business statement that addresses the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy’s (CDEP).

“Notably, the joint statement garnered the support of twenty-three business organizations from around the world,” said USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner.

The group of companies commended CDEP on its effort to bolster trust and minimize disruptions to global data flows with a set of high-level principles on government access to personal data held by the private sector.

The letter noted: “the benefits of trade depend on the trusted flow of data between countries. Global data flows have enabled more efficient production, manufacturing and distribution of much needed medical equipment, along with the digital services that are foundational to the continuity of our lives, our communities, societies and governments. Nevertheless, we are seeing trust in international data flows being eroded over concerns that government demands to access data may conflict with universal human rights and freedoms, including privacy rights, or cause concerns and conflicts with domestic laws when such access transcends borders. These increased concerns and reduced trust have led to uncertainty that may discourage individuals’, businesses’, and even governments’ participation in a global economy, and can negatively impact economic growth.”

The business coalition emphasized the urgency of articulating common practices shared by OECD members on trusted government access to personal data held by the private sector and believe that the OECD is in a unique position to spearhead this global effort. The CDEP can reinforce the strong traditions of OECD members in respecting the rule of law, alleviate uncertainty on these issues, and ultimately help to expand trust in trade and digital technologies. An OECD instrument setting out high-level principles and guidance, outlining necessary shared safeguards to ensure a high standard of privacy, would be a critical contribution to set a firm foundation for building trust, similar to the OECD Privacy Guidelines and its Council Recommendations on Artificial Intelligence.

The statement was presented to members of the special governments-only OECD drafting group in time for their May 6 meeting, as well as to the broader membership of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy.

This topic will also be the focus of a panel discussion featured in the May 25 USCIB/BIAC/OECD Digital Economy Conference, “A Decade of OECD Internet Principles: Policy-Making in a Data-Driven World.” To register, please click here.

Staff Contact:   Barbara Wanner

VP, ICT Policy & Managing Director, Washington Office
Tel: 202.617.3155

Barbara Wanner directs USCIB’s work on information, communications and technology issues. She works with members and government officials on a wide range of international business issue that include advocating for the continuation of the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and for policies aimed at promoting the stability, openness and innovative flexibility of the Internet. She represents USCIB members’ interests in several international forums, including the UN, APEC and the OECD.
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