Building Bridges: International Trade Law, Internet Governance, and the Regulation of Data Flows
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (Forthcoming)
47 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2018 Last revised: 20 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 9, 2018
The regulation of data flows through the internet touches upon various distinct disciplines including internet governance and international trade law. In internet governance, three fundamental principles, namely, internet openness, internet security and internet privacy apply to regulation of internet data flows. Existing evidence suggests that internet privacy and security, when implemented in a reasoned and transparent manner by different stakeholders, enables internet openness – thus, challenging the dominant perspective that cybersecurity and privacy requirements constrain free flow of data. This article introduces a unique perspective by arguing that these three principles (notwithstanding their non-binding nature) play an important role in applying trade law to data restrictive measures, particularly by facilitating a sound framework that balances domestic internet regulation and liberalised data flows, thus contributing to balancing of trade and non-trade policy goals. Given this important relationship between trade and internet governance, this article suggests that different options must be explored to enhance dialogue and coordination between these two policy communities so as to build a sound, balanced and holistic regulatory environment for cross-border data flows.
Keywords: cross-border data flows, WTO, internet governance, privacy, cybersecurity, digital trade
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation