Author: Richard Purcell, CEO, Corporate Privacy Group
We have been moving trade goods across borders for hundreds of years. Over this time, through alliances and wars, imperialism and independence, we’ve managed to work out the details of commodity movement through import/export frameworks that are standardized and widely accepted.
The benefits of cross-border trade are immense and the challenges are complex. Countries have and continue to enforce different laws and have different cultural expectations, all to protect their industries and people. In the USA, trade must comply with the standards set by the Bureau of Industry and Security and regulations enforced by the Customs and Border Patrol. Import specialists, field auditors, customs brokers, and experts in customs brokerage, international taxation and transfer pricing all have roles to play.
Exported goods have to meet specific criteria describing the goods, the sources and the destinations. Shipping methods are carefully vetted for safety and security.
As our digital economy expands these kinds of rigorous requirements will increasingly be applied to electronic data flows. Currently, we have only limited frameworks that describe different types of information – and none that are generally harmonized across national borders. We support verifiable information senders through identity credentials, though these are too easily spoofed; Internet communications with large files are regularly cloaked to prevent identifying the sending and the receiving parties.
Massive amounts of information flow across our borders every day. These data flows are quickly becoming an integral part of our business, driving strategies, programs, product sales, client services and innovative research. It is vital that these data flows continue to drive business, comply with regulatory requirements and are safe from unauthorized interception or snooping.
At the North American Digital Economy Summit in San Diego (14-15 November), we are convening business owners, technology implementers, privacy and security experts and consumer advocates to start the dialogue needed to assure the future of robust and protected data flows across the borders of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
We believe that the event will achieve the kind of balance needed to stimulate this dialogue by putting forward, first and foremost, the challenges businesses face, such as securing the integrity of the data as well as assuring compliance with personal information management, and then engaging in the conversation at a depth that exposes the most salient issues to begin a path toward a solution.