G20 cross-border data flow ratings

James Riley
Editorial Director

Australia is relatively open to cross-border data flows when compared to other G20 economies, but is limited by a number of restrictive measures, according to a new study commissioned by Salesforce.

The Data Beyond Borders report found Australia ranked at number six among G20 economies when it comes to recognising the importance of enabling data flows. Australia tied with Germany and France, with each country rating 30 points – seven above the G20 average score of 23.

The report attributed Australia’s openness to the Privacy Act and sector-specific legislations that regulate data protection in the health and telecommunications sectors, and consumer credit reporting.

Big table: G20 Leaders forum underlined principles for the digital economy

Topping the index was Japan, with a score of 38. The report said underpinning Japan’s openness has been the country’s Protection of Personal Information (APPI) Act, which ensures its domestic regulations provide clarity to the business community to cross-border data flows.

“This regulatory consistency has facilitated its participation in both the APEC’s CBPR framework, as well as meeting the EU’s GDPR Adequacy requirements for data transfers,” the report said.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the other end of the spectrum included China, Indonesia, and last, Russia.

At the recent G20 Osaka, leaders acknowledged the importance of cross-border data flow, information, ideas and knowledge to generate productivity and innovation, while raising challenges related to privacy, data protection, security and intellectual protection rights.

“By continuing to address these challenges, we can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust,” the G20 Osaka Leaders Declaration outlined.

“In this respect, it is necessary that legal frameworks, both domestic and international, should be respected.

“Such data free flow with trust will harness the opportunities of the digital economy.

“We will cooperate to encourage the interoperability of different frameworks, and we affirm the role of data for development.”

Collectively they also committed to work towards “achieving an inclusive, sustainable, safe, trustworthy and innovative society through digitalization and promoting the application of emerging technologies.”

“We share the notion of a human-centered future society, which is being promoted by Japan as Society 5.0,” the communique said.

“As digitalisation is transforming every aspect of our economies and societies, we recognise the critical role played by effective use of data, as an enabler of economic growth, development and social well-being.

“We aim to promote international policy discussions to harness the full potential of data.”

In a further commitment to promote innovation through digitalisation and trust within data free flow, the leaders said they will support the sharing of good practices on effective policy and regulatory approaches and frameworks using regulatory sandboxes.

The G20 economies have also agreed to introduce a non-binding G20 AI Principles that will be designed based on AI recommendations made by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“The responsible development and use of artificial intelligence can be a driving force to help advance the sustainable development goals and to realise a sustainable and inclusive,” the communique said.

The G20 Osaka leaders also declared to continue discussions about security in the digital economy, particularly around protecting intellectual property.

“We, as G20 members, affirm the need to further work on these urgent challenges,” the communique said.

“We reaffirm the importance of bridging the digital divide and fostering the adoption of digitalisation among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and all individuals, particularly vulnerable groups and also encourage networking and experience-sharing among cities for the development of smart cities.”

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