G20 Leaders’ Declaration on Data aft Statement on Countering the the Free Flow with Trust, Bali, 16 November 2022
The Civil Societies Urge the G20 India to Stop the Discussion on Cross-Border Data Free Flow with Trust
18 November 2022- The G20 Bali Declaration is still pushing the commitment of all G20 members to continue the discussion on Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT), while there is no agreement reached by the G20 members regarding to this agenda.
We, civil society organizations, urge the G20 Developing Countries to not continue the discussion on Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) to promote the free flow of Data at the G20 meeting, especially under the Presidency of India. The G20 is not an appropriate forum to discuss the issue of digital data governance where majority of G20 Developing Countries, like South Africa, India and Indonesia, in particular, are still refusing to buy into this new term.
This is because their main issue with the original ‘free flow of data’ doctrine was not as much to do with privacy and security as it was about economic expropriation, given that data is the most valuable resource today. The new concept of DFFT did nothing to address this central concern of developing countries.
Developing countries’ main problem with cross-border free flow of data has related to expropriation of economic value of their data, leading to fears of digital colonization. While some jurisdictions have already created legal economic rights over data, others are actively considering them. Therefore, the adoption of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) will not guarantee the economic growth for the developing countries.
Data is the key resource in a digital society and economy. Most of the data value is extracted by one or two big techs superpowers who control most of the global digital platforms and infrastructure. The big problem is, today’s big techs companies are benefiting greatly from the expansion of economic digitization with controlling the data in the global world. The top of the list was the right to Control Data, and who controls data essentially can dominate the digital domain. And, so they wanted absolute rights to control the data generated in the business.
The big tech companies have been lobbying the states to regulate the free flow of data so they can keep the data monopoly. Trade rules are being used to leverage this influence as a vehicle for expanding the big techs power and influence. We are increasingly seeing the incorporation of ‘digital chapters’ in trade agreements and negotiating E-commerce Agreement at the WTO.
We support the call by the UNCTAD for developing a ‘global data governance framework’ that addresses both non-economic and economic aspects of data. The UNCTAD’s 2021 Digital Economy Report clearly states that, as data and cross-border data flows become increasingly prominent in the global economy, there is an urgent need to properly regulate them at the international level. Thus, when addressing how to regulate cross-border data flows, the international community will need to go beyond trade and consider them in a holistic manner;
Cross-border data flows should be based on a comprehensive rights-based approach that includes all three generations of human rights; civil/ political, social/economic, and the right to development. Economic data rights of individuals, communities and workers are important to ensure equity and justice, nationally and globally. It is important that cross-border data flows are based on social and economic justice, and observe principles like fairness and justice, transparency, lawfulness, and reciprocity in relation to data-related benefits. Therefore, we need to develop a just global digital and data governance framework with an independent, representative.
Therefore, we strongly demand the G20 developing countries should take a concrete action beyond the G20 Forum to develop a just global digital and data governance and framework based on south-south solidarity principles with an independent, representative multilateral mechanism, backed by an international treaty (or human rights treaty). And, ensure the global digital and data governance and framework would not be governed in any international trade rules (WTO or bilateral and regional FTAs).
Asia-Europe Peoples Forum (AEPF)
Focus on the Global South
Seattle to Brussels (S2B) Network
Transnational Institute (TNI)
Global Justice Now (GJN)
IT for Change India
Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)
Sahita Institute (Hints)
Fresh Eyes (UK)
Pakistan Rabita Committee
Indonesian Human Rights for Social Justice (IHCS)