TR Daily G7 Leaders to Cooperate on Cross-Border Data Flows, Cybersecurity
Monday, June 14, 2021

G7 Leaders to Cooperate on Cross-Border Data Flows, Cybersecurity

Leaders of the G7 nations over the weekend endorsed efforts to harmonize national policies on cross-border data flows and pledged cooperation to address threats to cyberspace and information and communications technology (ICT) supply chains.

In a communique and statements issued after the weekend meetings in the United Kingdom, the G7 leaders endorsed two key documents, the G7 Roadmap for Cooperation on Data Free Flow With Trust and the Framework for G7 Collaboration on Electronic Transferable Records.

Both documents reflect ongoing efforts to smooth over differences in how G7 nations approach privacy, law enforcement access to data, and cross-border data flows.

"The ability to move and protect data across borders is essential for economic growth and innovation. Data localization can impact data flows, with possible consequences for businesses," according to the data flow roadmap. "We need further evidence and robust analysis of the economic and societal impact of data localization measures across a globally distributed data ecosystem."

The roadmap directs G7 policy-makers to "build an evidence base on the impact of data localization measures and alternative policy responses to these approaches" and to "identify commonalities in regulatory approaches to cross-border data transfers, as well as good regulatory practices and cooperation between nations."

The roadmap suggests that different national approaches to allowing authorities to access personal data need to be reconciled. "There is a clear link between robust data protection, privacy, and lawful access regimes and the valid need for governments to access personal data in the private sector," it says.

"We are committed to maintaining domestic data protection and privacy standards, reasonable principles underpinning lawful access regimes, as well as legal powers and arrangements that facilitate access across borders. We will engage with like-minded initiatives and groups on this," the roadmap says.

Likewise, the framework for electronic data transfers calls for "a dialogue between experts to work to achieve compatible domestic reforms and provide collective support to other international initiatives seeking to facilitate the adoption of electronic transferable records, with an aim of enabling commercial operators to adopt these digital solutions for the shipment of goods and trade finance."

"Legal barriers, and regulatory and technical issues, impede the adoption of electronic transferable records. Given that network effects underpin the benefits of electronic transferable records, a multilateral approach is needed to coordinate reforms to address these impediments," the framework says.

Both the framework and roadmap anticipate additional multilateral meetings and activities to achieve their goals, and the endorsement of those efforts over the weekend by the leaders of the G7 is key to their progress.

On cyberspace more generally, the G7 leaders said they would "work together to further a common understanding of how existing international law applies to cyberspace and welcome the work of our foreign ministers to promote this approach at the UN and other international fora."

"We also commit to work together to urgently address the escalating shared threat from criminal ransomware networks. We call on all states to urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions," they said in a communique.

President Biden intends to raise the issue of ransomware when he meets face-to-face on Wednesday in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the U.S. views as unwilling to stop ransomware gangs from hitting U.S. targets from within Russia (TR Daily, June 2). President Biden’s first foreign trip since taking office was to the G7 summit, which will be followed by tomorrow’s European Union-U.S. summit in Brussels and the meeting with Putin.

The G7 communique also expressed a commitment for the G7 nations to cooperate on supply chain security and resilience and global technology standards-setting.

"We will strengthen coordination on and support for the implementation and development of global norms and standards to ensure that the use and evolution of new technologies reflects our shared democratic values and commitment to open and competitive markets, strong safeguards including for human rights and fundamental freedoms," the communique said.

"We also affirm our opposition to measures which may undermine these democratic values, such as government-imposed Internet shutdowns and network restrictions," it added. "We call on the private sector to join us in our efforts and reaffirm our support for industry-led inclusive multistakeholder approaches to standard-setting, in line with our values and principles which underpin these standards."

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) expressed support for the G7’s work on cross-border data flows and related issues.

"We are encouraged the G7 leaders committed to advance free and fair trade, and to preserve an open, interoperable, unfragmented, and secure Internet that empowers people around the world and supports the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Jason Oxman, ITI’s president and chief executive officer. —Tom Leithauser, [email protected]

MainStory: Cybersecurity Privacy InternationalNews

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