G7 announces new Digital Trade Principles

Just a quick heads up in case you missed it. The G7 Trade Ministers have in the last few days agreed a set of Digital Trade Principles, which are aimed, amongst other things, at demonstrating a commitment to achieving:

  • high and enforceable standards of data protection;
  • greater global commonality and consistency in the approach taken to data governance and data protection;
  • the removal of obstacles to cross-border data flows (while continuing to address privacy and data protection) and
  • consensus on common principles for trusted government access to personal data held by the private sector

The principles also note the Ministers’ concerns about ‘data localisation requirements’ that are ‘being used for protectionist and discriminatory purposes, as well as to undermine open societies and democratic values, including freedom of expression’. It’s not difficult to imagine who are the targets of this particular principle.

It is of course heart-warming to see the G7 countries espousing such an aspirational set of principles. However, what matters is how (and indeed whether) these principles will be translated into hard-edged obligations on the ground.

Anya Proops QC