[DC-Trade] Proposal for Dynamic Coalition document on trade transparency

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Thu Aug 10 17:33:37 PDT 2017


I agree that extant international law as framed for instance in the
telecom annex could possibly be used to seek free global flow of data.

Also that it is indeed urgently needed to undertake categories
classification in this area -- diff. between info and data, between
various kinds of data, and so on. And when you say these discussions are
currently blocked, I understand you mean at the WTO -- where they are
blocked by developing countries, and not at the general global IG policy
making space, as I would take it to be, where the very development of
necessary institutions is blocked by developed countries, and associated
stakeholder groups.

Yes, I want global discussions and norms to clarify classifications in
this area; that, among many other Internet/ digital policies issues, is
an urgent global imperative. But I want it first, and primarily, done
not at a trade dealing making forum, but at an appropriate global policy
institution that takes an overall social, political and cultural view of
the subject along with an economic one.

Trade deals "economize" issues, and things are worked out there as
bargains and trade-offs - they would first instance want to see health
and education as primarily commercial services, while we want them first
to be seen like WHO and UNESCO would respectively see them.

Interestingly, Nick Ashton, who I am sure is on this list, argued
recently on the ISOC list that "equity" is not an objective of trade
talks, "prosperity" is. I do not want a forum that does not have
"equity" as one of its key objectives, apart from others, to primarily
be making digital society/ economy classifications and conceptual
frameworks. That is why these discussions are "blocked" at the WTO.


On Thursday 10 August 2017 02:54 PM, William Drake wrote:
> Hi P
> Just a last note on this
>> On Aug 10, 2017, at 05:43, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net
>> <mailto:parminder at itforchange.net>> wrote:
>> On Wednesday 09 August 2017 02:09 PM, William Drake wrote:
>>> Hi Parminder
>>> Long time no talk, hope you’re well.  
>> Hi Bill, thanks I am well. Hope you too are.
>> Thanks for your references they provide useful background. However,
>> my short answer to your response is; these agreements are decades
>> old, and data economy is what 4-5 years in the making yet.
> Ok, I was just responding to your statement that trade agreements do
> not deal with free flow of information.  They do, and they’re still
> legally binding international law (which you usually like, ja? :-),
> and via the tech neutrality principle and dispute resolution cases
> could very well apply to the data you have in mind, e.g. the telecom
> annex language speak of movement of information but was a build out
> from the recent transborder data flow debate, and the scheduled
> commitments mentioned do refer to types of services that are very much
> involved in moving and processing data today.  In fact there’s a
> pretty good case to be made that forced localization may violate those
> commitments, if anyone ever gets the backbone to test this in the DSM.
> Luckily I don’t believe anyone will challenge GDPR etc. 
> Anyway, so really what we’re into here is the classification fight,
> which is hotly contested and not straightforward. Your position I
> guess is that contemporary platform services etc. (just a portion of
> CBDF) are not entailed by the extant rules.  Would you agree then that
> these issues need to be clarified? That’s part of the discussion
> that’s been blocked.
> Best
> Bill
>> Terms like information and data have taken very different meanings in
>> what was negotiated at that time, and what is being talked about
>> right now. Information in these earlier documents is largely private,
>> uncontested about its ownership, and a subsidiary resource to
>> whatever are the main businesses. Today, a big issue is data
>> collected from people, whose ownership and protections are contested,
>> and data (and the digital intelligence derived from it) is the almost
>> the most important resource around. So, it is different now. Which is
>> why there are currently big issues around the "free flow of data"
>> part in global trade forums. You mentioned India's position, I think
>> even they are ambivalent although their "global back-office" IT
>> business and the emerging strength in "software as a service" sector
>> requires that data flows are not required. However, in all these
>> cases the concerned data is clearly of the concerned principal
>> enterprise (which either outsources IT based operations, or
>> subscribed to SaaS services) which is a very different category form
>> transporting public data collected over various platforms in the
>> platform economy. 
>> Ok, let me quote from yesterday's newspaper. Patil was the official
>> data scientist to the Obama's White House.
>>         Mr. Patil responded by saying that there is a darker force,
>>         as there are companies which are calculating and sitting on
>>         data that one never gave them the right to capture. These
>>         include satellite images, copying records of the court cases
>>         and they are selling it to a creditor, or somebody else and
>>         one has no recourse and ability to know that the data was
>>         moved, he said. “This is where I would love to be a very
>>         strong policy. India has a great opportunity to learn from
>>         things that we didn't do correctly,” said Mr. Patil.
>> In the same report, Nandan Nilekani, a founder of India's most famous
>> IT company Infosys said;
>>         Mr. Nilekani agreed with the need for policy and gave the
>>         example of increasing amount of data and how it is being
>>         aggregated in areas like platforms which is actually a big
>>         risk. “You end up with data monopoly,” he said. “I am deeply
>>         concerned that data is going to create a new set of
>>         monopolies and whole new model of colonisation.”
>> Does this look to you like talks about some straight forward free
>> flow of information? Not to me. It is much more complex, and
>> different from traditional notions of information flows.
>> regards
>> parminder

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