Advancing on integration and regional cooperation is essential to properly managing and taking advantage of the flow of cross-border data, considering that it not only involves different countries but also has an impact on areas such as trade, security and human rights, according to the specialists gathered at the inauguration of the Regional conference: Challenges in an interconnected world, cross-border data flows, data protection and cybersecurity, held at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile this Thursday, November 22.
The event was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, with the support of German cooperation, and it drew the participation of representatives of government, academia, the private sector and civil society.
Today we find ourselves immersed in a new era of digital transformation, marked by the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, where personal data is a source of value that can be used to influence individual behavior in different areas, Mario Cimoli, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional organization, indicated during the opening session of the conference. Currently, problems related to data security and protection are key issues on political, economic and social agendas, he stated.
“Data management is not exclusively about the matter of protecting privacy and security; it is also a determining factor with regard to companies’ competitiveness and innovation and it can fuel the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, even more so in light of current global tensions,” the senior official stressed.
Cimoli recalled that this issue was a central part of the agreements adopted in the Cartagena de Indias Declaration (April 2018), which highlighted the importance of promoting a governance of the information society that strengthens a global culture of trust in the Internet, through harmonization and regulatory and institutional coherence.
The recent document Data, Algorithms and Policies, presented during the Sixth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2018), analyzes how the digital economy is changing business models, industrial organization and how companies’ competitiveness is determined by the quality, quantity and interoperability of the data they manage. In that document, ECLAC also proposes forging a regional digital market, promoting digitalization and moving toward harmonization of the regulatory frameworks for handling information and data.
“Data protection and the handling of Internet jurisdiction are fundamental for facilitating cross-border trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. We would like to have an economy with digital cross-border trade that allows any SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) to make sales anywhere. But for that to occur, we must think about data, standards and integration,” the senior official sustained.
Also in the opening session, Bertrand de La Chapelle, Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, stressed the importance of international cooperation for addressing transnational challenges. In this sense, he highlighted the partnership with ECLAC and this opportunity to debate with diverse stakeholders in Chile.
Along with valuing the possibilities for innovation and productivity improvement that the Internet offers, the network representative warned that its misuse has been underestimated. If the different types of misuse of the Internet are not addressed in the framework of a cooperation process, we will not be able to develop a digital economy in an adequate way, he argued.
At the conference, participants discussed the new global architecture for cross-border data flows and pending challenges in legislation regarding data protection, along with the trends observed in the region in both of these areas, among other issues.