Towards a Robust Architecture for the Regulation of Data and Digital Trade

CIGI Paper No. 240. Waterloo: Centre for International Governance Innovation, 15 April 2020.

21 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2019 Last revised: 16 Apr 2020

See all articles by Dan Ciuriak

Dan Ciuriak

Ciuriak Consulting Inc.; Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); C.D. Howe Institute; Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH

Maria Ptashkina

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

Date Written: March 26, 2020

Abstract

The digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for a governance framework that evolved gradually and incrementally over centuries, shaped by lessons learned during the long era of industrialization and globalization in which much of today’s technology was still science fiction. At the heart of the governance challenge is “datafication” — the capture of truly astronomical amounts of information on the functioning of societies, economies and even the industrial processes of firms. Once transformed into data, information can be analyzed and used to modify the behaviours that generated the information in the first place for economic, political or geopolitical advantage. Given the multiple roles that data plays — as the medium of digital commercial transactions and digital trade, as a valuable capital asset, as part of the intangible infrastructure of the digital economy, and as the very fabric of a modern information society — the governance challenge is immense. Moreover, given the multitude and pervasiveness of data analytics applications, there is urgency in coming to grips with the regulation of data, since other governance challenges, ranging from climate change to income distribution, depend on safeguarding democratic processes and functional markets. Numerous efforts are under way to address aspects of the regulation of data. These efforts include the recently launched e-commerce negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), other work programs under the WTO, and the initiatives of the Group of Twenty (G20) on the free flow of data based on trust. There is as well work in more specialized areas, such as competition policy and intellectual property (IP), taxation in the digital realm, and multi-stakeholder processes addressing the plethora of other digital governance issues ranging from privacy to cyber security. This paper suggests a conceptual framework for addressing the multi-dimensional policy dilemma that societies now face of reconciling the many competing policy priorities raised by digital transformation domestically and of preparing the ground for negotiations toward a robust and broadly acceptable governance regime internationally, fit for purpose for the age of data.

Keywords: big data, data-driven economy, digital transformation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, information asymmetry, business process optimization, superstar firms, strategic trade policy, competition, intellectual property, foreign direct investment

JEL Classification: F13, F52, F55, F63, L40, L52, O30

Suggested Citation

Ciuriak, Dan and Ptashkina, Maria, Towards a Robust Architecture for the Regulation of Data and Digital Trade (March 26, 2020). CIGI Paper No. 240. Waterloo: Centre for International Governance Innovation, 15 April 2020., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423394 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3423394

Dan Ciuriak (Contact Author)

Ciuriak Consulting Inc. ( email )

83 Stewart St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6H9
Canada

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
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C.D. Howe Institute ( email )

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Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada ( email )

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BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH ( email )

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Maria Ptashkina

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.upf.edu/web/econ/phd-students

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) ( email )

International Environmental House 2
Chemin de Balexert 7
Chatelaine, Geneva, GE 1219
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ictsd.org/about-us/maria-ptashkina

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