Digital Economy: U.S. Companies Push for New Internet Trade Rules

  • “Google, Microsoft, Citigroup, IBM, GE and other top-tier American companies on Thursday urged the United States to fight for trade rules that protect the free flow of information over the Internet,” reports Reuters.
  • The coalition criticized federal requirements for companies to have their data centers within a country’s borders to provide services. Additionally, the group argued against governments blocking access to services such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube.
  • The group says future U.S. trade pacts must “reflect the new realities of the global economy: specifically, the contribution of the Internet toward economic growth, toward job creation and exports,” said Bob Boorstin, director of public policy for Google.
  • “Even when Internet curbs are intended to support legitimate public interests such as national security of law enforcement, businesses can suffer when those rules are unclear, arbitrary, unevenly applied or more trade restrictive than they need to be to achieve their objectives,” suggests the group’s paper.
  • “We want the free flow of data just like we want the free flow of goods and services,” said Nuala O’Connor Kelly, chief privacy leader at General Electric. “In the information age, data is our widget.”

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