Jun 04, 2023

Transatlantic data flows: time for a sustainable framework

Thursday, 25 May marked the fifth anniversary of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This milestone serves as a strong reminder of the importance of having a stable and workable regulatory environment for what has become the lifeblood of our economy: data transfers.

The weight of data flows
Globally, cross-data flows contribute more to growth than trade in goods, and their importance continues to rise. Between 2010 and 2019, global data flows rose by nearly 50% every year, a figure that spiked during the pandemic. The benefits of data transfers for consumers and companies across sectors feed this steady growth. From stabilizing supply chain management to allowing us to work remotely, they are essential drivers of the prosperity and well-being of our societies.

Enabling a necessary part of global trade
Without an effective data transfer framework, transatlantic businesses are facing significant hurdles to ensure compliant data transfers. It is absolutely crucial that the EU and the US cooperate to set up the EU-US Data Privacy Framework as soon as possible and provide businesses the legal certainty they need. In the meantime, they will indeed continue to transfer data. How could we expect business not to do so, given that 90% of EU-based companies rely on transatlantic data flows?

The proposed EU-US Data Privacy Framework is a significant step in the right direction, particularly because it does not require the United States to adopt the exact same regime as the EU, and rather recognises an essentially equivalent framework. It is now time for policymakers to prioritise the implementation of the Framework so that transatlantic businesses can continue to strengthen our digitally-enabled economy while protecting the privacy of individuals.