Data Protection: Obstacle to the Digital Economy?

There are new proposals for data management and cross-border data transfer. For example, the issues of data ownership, use, processing and control should be clarified. Data privacy, trade secrets and national security should be regulated in certain use scenarios such as Big Data marketing, corporate data sharing and cross-border data flows.

Regulation of cross-border data flows should also be strengthened. A data exit management system should classify data and prescribe different exit rules for different data types. A risk level and the interests to be protected are to be defined for each data type. When formulating the rules for cross-border data transfer, suggestions from experts and scientists in the field of international trade as well as professional consulting institutions are to be taken into account. In addition, it is to be examined whether the rules can be brought into line with the international trade agreements to which China is a party.

In the meantime, however, critical voices are also becoming louder. Some Chinese experts believe that the rules for cross-border data transfer are too conservative and contain too many localization restrictions that are not suitable for the development of the Chinese digital economy. The proposed system design could also lead to adverse treatment by other countries, causing Chinese companies to face barriers to data transfer when entering foreign markets. It is therefore still an open question whether China will adopt a stricter or less stringent control policy for cross-border data transfer in the future.

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