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Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created: an asset that can be collected and interpreted to improve the bottom line of even the smallest of enterprises. But as well as helping businesses track and market products and services, data is also being used as a serviceable resource for addressing many of today’s development and sustainability challenges.

Experts in some parts of the world, for example, are using data to help predict when a food emergency is likely to occur or to identify pockets of poverty previously unnoticed.  Others are using data to tackle food waste or boost animal conservation efforts.

The potential to advance global development goals by using available data is enormous.

But we have all seen the headlines…and it’s not all good news.

Data protection is a major concern for individuals and businesses alike. According to one study, 2016 saw more data breaches on record than any previous year. Worryingly for businesses, the private sector was hit most, accounting for over 45% of all breaches.

Data must be protected from these kinds of attacks. ICC believes that policy frameworks should provide for robust and appropriate data protection that guarantees the privacy of the citizen without hampering innovation.

When it comes to the protection of privacy and security, ICC would like to see governments working to ensure that their policy and regulatory environments are up-to-date and reflect best practices. But these regimes should also remain flexible enough to keep up with changing societal needs, new technologies and business model innovations.

They must also provide consumers with protection and guarantee the free flow of information needed to bring about the anticipated benefits of the digital economy.

Tools and guidance from business are vital to further privacy protection and promote economic growth. To this end, ICC creates practical tools and guidance for policymakers worldwide dealing with privacy and data protection issues. These tools include the ICC Alternative Standard Contractual Clauses for the Transfer of Personal Data from the European Union to Third Countries.

ICC provides global business perspectives to the Asia-Pacific Economic region’s (APEC) electronic steering committee on APEC data protection and privacy activities. We are also a global voice on European Union privacy developments impacting business, such as the European Union General Data Protection Regulation.

ICC also shares business perspectives on privacy work undertaken by relevant United Nations’ bodies leveraging ICC’s United Nations Observer Status.