Data

Why Data Needs to Move Across Borders and Why You Should Care

Cross-border data flows are essential to the global economy. This is a point that BSA always emphasizes. But what exactly are “cross-border data flows” and how do they affect you?

“Cross-border data flows” refers to the movement or transfer of information between servers across country borders. Data needs to be able move freely so that no matter where you are, you have access to the information and services you need (whether you’re a person or a business). Data service providers don’t build data centers in every city or even every country. Instead, centers are built in locations where it makes the most sense – where they can provide the best service to their customers, where it’s most cost-effective, or where the demand for services is highest. Data must cross the country borders between these data centers so that it can be shared and used around the world.

Everyone from individuals to large corporations relies on transferring data.

Let’s say you’re in London on a trip from New York and you go to buy some lunch. If you decide to use your credit card, how does the credit card software know it isn’t a fraudulent transaction? Because of data. Your bank’s computer back home can analyze the purchase and location, and based on that analysis can allow the purchase or flag it as likely fraud and stop it. All this analysis happens in the split second after you swipe your card and the transaction goes through.

We take using credit cards overseas for granted, but it is one of the many ways cross-border data flows facilitate our everyday lives. The same goes for tracking shipped packages, checking the weather, or buying clothes online (to name a few).

On a broader level, businesses in every industry use data to launch into global markets. Let’s say a retail company expands from Portland to Japan and Korea. Thanks to cross-border data flows, the company’s headquarters can coordinate with multiple locations to analyze and leverage information about its customers, manage its supply chains, and conduct market research, which keeps the company’s brand unified and increases sales.

But the future of cross-border data flows is uncertain. There is no global set of trade rules that clearly states data needs to be able to move freely around the world. Economic incentives and privacy concerns have led some governments to push to restrict data flows, locking data within their borders. We cannot allow this to happen.

We’re in the middle of a data revolution. In the past 15 years alone, we’ve gone from dial-up Internet and desktops to smartphones and cloud computing. Our world is increasingly more connected through the sharing of data with the emergence of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Data must be free to move across borders to continue the growth of the global economy and foster innovation… whether you’re buying lunch on vacation or expanding your business, and everything in between.

Data

New Irish Warrant Case Decision – Again – Points to Need for Congressional Action to Update ECPA

The importance of this week’s decision by the Second Circuit to deny rehearing in Microsoft’s Irish warrant case has less to do with the action in court and more to do with what happens next. Specifically, with what happens in Congress. Last July, a panel of the Second Circuit held that a warrant issued by … Read More >>

Data, Industry, Intellectual Property

An Open Letter to Congress: Software Industry’s Priorities Create Jobs

Dear 115th Congress, Congratulations on your election to office – we look forward to working with you. Job creation will undoubtedly be a top priority on your list in the coming year, and it’s a top priority for our industry. As our recent economic impact report shows (done in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit) … Read More >>

Cybersecurity, Data, Privacy

It’s Time to Move the Encryption Discussion Forward

The encryption discussion in Washington has been locked in a polarized stalemate for months — with loud voices on distant ends deeply dug in. Encryption is a complex issue that affects a range of global stakeholders, from governments to businesses to individuals. The ideal solution needs to consider all legitimate sides of the argument and … Read More >>

Data, Privacy

Privacy Shield Attracts Strong Company Support

BSA President & CEO Victoria Espinel penned the op-ed below that ran earlier today in The Hill. As she notes, today is the first day that companies can certify with the Commerce Department for the Privacy Shield. Why are data transfers across the Atlantic so important? Cloud computing services and data analytics increasingly depend on … Read More >>