September 2019 Newsletter


The Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub was established on June 1, 2019 to provide policymakers, the press, and the public with a greater understanding of digital trade and data governance issues. Our monthly newsletter gives you the run-down on the latest developments in data governance.

Compiled by Danielle Tse, Program and Research Assistant at the Hub


Federal Data Strategy Action Plan: Will it generate good data governance?
As data-driven technologies become more widespread, national data governance becomes increasingly important for its political, economic, and national security implications. In June 2019, the Office of Management and Budget issued the Draft 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan. The Strategy describes a 10-year vision for how the federal government will accelerate the use of federal data to provide greater resources to the public while protecting security, privacy, and confidentiality.

NIST Releases Guidance on How the Government Should Approach AI
Data governance must be flexible enough to adapt to new technologies without undermining the achievement of other important policy goals, such as protecting privacy rights. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released guidance for the government to approach developing technical and ethical standards for AI. Read more via Nextgov.


How the US, EU, and China Compete to Set Industry Standards
The world seems to be dividing into data realms, and the three digital powers (US, EU, and China) are competing to set the standards for these realms instead of finding common ground on shared strategies. Alan Beattie of the Financial Times argues that the US, China, and EU are competing for a first-mover advantage in the digital economy, establishing technological leadership and market dominance and setting data governance regulations.

More in data governance news:
Indian Prime Minister’s Office stand on data localization soon, Economic Times
Pallone and Walden urge Lighthizer not to include Section 230 in trade agreements, Press release, House Committee on Energy & Commerce
Setting the digital standard for U.S. trade agreements, DisCo (CCIA)
Three years of misery inside Google, the happiest company in tech, Wired


Data Is a Development Issue by Susan Ariel Aaronson
In her new working paper, Aaronson argues that data governance will be essential to development and that donor nations have a responsibility to work with developing countries to improve their data governance.

**Check out our statistical overview on developing country indicators and G20 data governance plans on our website**

“A leader in profiting from data, America lags in protecting our information” by Susan Ariel Aaronson and David Morar
Aaronson and Morar, Visiting Scholar at the Hub, write an opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle on the contrast between America’s leadership in the digital economy and its paltry record on data governance. They argue that the failure to effectively govern data could undermine American leadership in the global digital economy.

“Is the US building a wall or a bridge to a data-driven economy? It’s time America rejoined the conversation on digital governance and rights” by Susan Ariel Aaronson
In an opinion piece for the South China Morning Post, Aaronson examines how, as with past administrations, the Trump Administration uses trade agreements to govern cross-border data flows. However, because of the President’s bullying, criticism of multilateralism, and protectionism, the US is now a less credible leader of global data governance.

“How Congress can rein in Trump’s trade tantrums” by Susan Ariel Aaronson
The US has transformed from the world’s leader in rules-based trade into a protectionist bully, writes Aaronson in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle. Aaronson makes recommendations on how Congress can regain greater influence over trade and make protectionism limited, accountable, and flexible.


Catalyzing Privacy Law by Anupam Chander, Margot E. Kaminski, and William McGeveran, Georgetown Law


Privacy and Digital Rights for All: A Forum on the Need for Privacy and Data Protection Laws in the US
Hosted at the Elliott School of International Affairs, this forum explored how the US should approach data and privacy regulation. Hub Director Susan Ariel Aaronson delivered opening remarks on possible policy solutions. The event (June 5) was organized with the collaboration of Public Citizen, Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue, and Institute for International Economic Policy.

What’s New in US Digital Trade Policy?
On June 20, the Hub hosted its inaugural event at the Russell Senate Building in Washington, DC. The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Internet Association partnered with the Hub to organize a panel discussion on the current and future direction of trade policy, particularly given provisions in the USMCA trade agreement. Panelists included Matthew Reisman, Director of International Trade at Microsoft, Serge Shikher, US International Trade Commission (ITC), Jayme White, Chief International Competitiveness and Innovation Advisor for the Senate Committee on Finance, and Probir Mehta, Head of Global Trade and IP Policy at Facebook. Senator Ron Wyden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, delivered closing remarks.

Hub @ US ITC
The Hub held two brownbag training sessions in June for staff at the US ITC. For the first session, the Hub brought in Dan Ciuriak from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) to discuss comparative advantage in data and data governance. For the second training, Keith Belton from the Manufacturing Policy Initiative, Indiana University, discussed the future of smart manufacturing.

AI Plans, Data Governance, and Comparative Advantage
On July 24, the Hub organized an event with the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) for the Senate AI Caucus. Hub Director Dr. Aaronson and Joshua New, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), compared government plans to encourage AI and discussed whether they actually affect comparative advantage in AI.


Transforming Research: September 26-27, 2019 at the Elliott School of International Affairs
Data as a Development Issue: with the Heinrich Böell Foundation, January 2020


Aaronson, Data as a National Security Issue, (for CIGI)
Struett, “G20 AI Strategies and Data Governance”