Alan Charles Raul
Sidley Austin LLP
Transatlantic data protection tensions continue to characterise the privacy world in 2016. However, there have been more than enough actual substantive developments in the US, EU and the rest of the world to provide much to talk about beyond the EU’s persistent concerns regarding the US government and private sector. Information law and digital policy privacy is currently so dynamic that it is difficult to predict future trends and key focal points for next year’s global regulators and enforcers.
Given the extent of policy development around the world, and the fact that many objectives for protecting the privacy and security of personal data are shared by most democratic countries, the world could benefit from greater international discussion and coordination at the ministerial level. Currently, privacy regulators and data protection authorities have relatively narrow mandates, and do not necessarily hold the institutional competence to address broad questions of social welfare, economic growth and technological innovation. They also do not hold responsibility for national security or law enforcement matters.
As more and more devices are connected to the internet, and as sensors, data analytics and complex algorithms about human behaviour become even more ubiquitous than they are today, a global digital dialogue could be increasingly imperative, or at least valuable.