Japan announces the launch of new data-sharing framework

At the G20 summit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed the launch of the “Osaka Track”.

The initiative seeks to promote cross-border data flow with enhanced protections for personal information, intellectual property and cybersecurity. 

The Osaka Track follows Abe’s “Data Free Flow with Trust”, a concept that calls for the creation of international regulations which will enable the free movement of data across borders.

In a speech at the G20 summit, Abe said:

“Unleashing such potential for maximum utility requires international rules that are in sync with the rapid progress of digitalization.

“Most importantly rule-making on data flow and e-commerce, which are the growth engines in the digital area, is an urgent mission.”

Trump has shown support to Abe’s plan stating that the free flow of data, strong privacy, intellectual property protection and access to capital and innovation is an integral part of the American digital economy’s success. 

“The digital economy is a crucial driver of economic growth. At the same time, as we expand digital trade, we must also ensure the resilience and security of our 5G networks,” Trump commented. “This is essential to our shared safety and prosperity.”

Countries including the EU, UK, USA, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have signed the Osaka Track. However India, South Africa and Indonesia have boycotted the framework for undermining “‘multilateral’ principles of consensus-based decisions in global trade negotiations and deny[ing’ ‘policy space’ for digital-industrialization in developing countries” livemint wrote. 

India’s Foreign Secretary VIjay Gokhale argued that negotiations and discussions surrounding digital economy should not be held outside it but rather in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO), “since data is one form of trade”. 

Gokhale explained that as the digital economy grows the flow of data will be extremely crucial to trade, therefore “the rule-making must involve all countries”.

Gokhale added: “Data is a new form of wealth”.

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