U.S. Debates Data Policy To Fix The Global Internet

The U.S. and other governments are working to deal with the rapid rise of ecommerce and global data as it crosses borders -- fueling everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to advanced manufacturing.

The White House is racing to create new policies, and beginning Wednesday will hold a series of sessions to determine a new path. The move will impact brands, advertisers, ecommerce platforms, and companies that build AI.

U.S. President Joe Biden's national security and economic teams will meet to discuss policies with companies, labor and human rights advocates and other experts on the digital economy, as part of a review launched last month, according to people who are directly involved, Bloomberg writes.

As an increase of data continues to flow across borders, the group aims to lay out a clear U.S. position on the rules for the global internet, because it brings economic, privacy, and national security concerns with possible consequences.

The U.S. has lagged behind Europe when it comes to data-privacy rules. While there are clear international rules for cross-border movement of physical goods and traditional services, digital trade such as ecommerce, video streaming, games and apps, is a new arena that lacks a rulebook and faces barriers as countries put more control on data and information.

The European Union (EU) agreed late Friday to new regulations for AI. Now the Biden administration is pushing to figure out U.S.’s role in a fast-moving and changing digital economy. Last week, the EU reached a deal on how it will regulate AI from companies like Google Bard, and OpenAI ChatGPT. The deal aims to balance innovation and protecting the rights of people and companies.

A U.S. official told Bloomberg that the country needs to “calibrate policies, … as it faces national security and privacy concerns around data, as well as competition issues raised by the power of big tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others.

The talks about not without controversy — whether companies or governments should get to decide how freely data flows and where it should be stored. That’s what Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative told those attending the Aspen Security Forum last week.

“Those issues are very much consequential, not just for trade and economics, but for our entire society,” she said, reports Bloomberg.

There are questions as to whether the U.S. has left a vacuum by temporarily abandoning its longstanding role as a leader for an open global internet. This has left the door open for authoritarian regimes to set the rules for a global digital economy that US tech companies have dominated for years, they charge.

Authoritarian governments include dictatorships, military juntas, religious theocracies, and communist, socialist, or fascist regimes. Many authoritarian governments also rank among the most corrupt governments.


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