All eyes are on Brazil as champion athletes from around the world gather to compete for Olympic medals. In between watching and cheering for Team USA, I’ll also be watching something that is getting much less press, but is certainly as important: three draft laws that are being considered by the Brazilian Congress which seek to protect data generated in Brazil.
When ITI “decoded” data flows, we showed that digital information is inherently global and vital to the growth and development of society and the global economy. Protecting data, especially personal data, is also critical to unleashing the impact that data has around the world.
Why is data security so important? Protecting the privacy of data and personal information is essential to the continued growth and vitality of the internet and the digital economy, as it helps build trust between both customers and businesses and citizens and their governments. ITI urges the Brazilian government to enact legislation that provides these necessary protections, without limiting or restricting Brazilian citizens’ and businesses’ abilities to participate in the global economy. Privacy and data protection policies should draw on existing multi-stakeholder frameworks and international norms of interoperability in order to promote inclusion, commerce, and innovation, such as the approach found in the cross-border privacy rules (CBPRs) adopted recently by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Cross-border data flows are foundational to furthering both Brazilian innovation and economic development. Requirements on where data must be stored, or restrictions on how it can be used, fail to recognize that global trade and the global economy runs on the internet and such requirements create a self-imposed handicap without improving privacy or security. Therefore, Brazilian lawmakers should avoid data protection policies requiring the local storage or processing of data or the use of local facilities, hardware, or services, respecting the global nature of this ecosystem.
As Brazil takes the global stage this summer, preserving the ability for citizens, businesses, travelers, and governments to take full advantage of the benefits of data flows could not be more important. Brazil benefits from data flows that increase its tourism, improve its scientific data and educational opportunities, and let its businesses compete in the global economy to grow the country’s economy. However, without adopting an interoperable and practical approach to data protection, the Brazilian Congress risks inhibiting, rather than advancing, the innovation and security on which these benefits rely.
Data is the lifeblood of today’s global economy, and we encourage Brazil to enact a law that truly achieves the goal of enhancing privacy protections and providing the certainty needed to promote innovation and economic growth.