William Carter, Erol Yayboke | Center for Strategic & International Studies

DATA HAS BECOME A CRITICAL RESOURCE DRIVING INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH WORLDWIDE. The free exchange of data has facilitated unprecedented choice, opportunity, and mobility to people around the world, created new industries and jobs, and raised global standards of living.

Data can also be exploited by malicious actors or cause unintended harm to individuals and societies. But the collection and use of data are not inherently dangerous or harmful. Limitations on data use should be tailored and proportional to manage specific and meaningful risks. The first goal of policymaking is to facilitate the safe and responsible use of data to improve people’s lives.

The architecture of global data governance is comprised of an interlinked set of laws, conventions, protocols, and standards at the international, regional, national, and local levels. Gaps in this architecture have resulted in a lack of clarity that is undermining confidence in and adoption of new technologies and limiting the tools available to address harmful uses of data.

A unified approach to develop data governance frameworks and integrate them into this global architecture is needed. Risk-based governance structures can enable innovation and competition and protect people from harm. These structures must be flexible, consistent, and interoperable.

Countries around the world recognize the benefits of creating clear data governance rules to enable innovation and development while protecting their citizens from harm. Many are establishing legal and regulatory frameworks to govern data. While national data governance regimes are essential to promote innovation and reflect local values, culture, and customs, the global and integrated nature of the digital economy requires a common baseline of data governance principles on which national data governance regimes can be built.

Principles Digital Economy

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