ICC mobilises business worldwide to convey shared views on trusted government access to private-sector held personal data

  • 7 May 2021
ICC Digital Growth

ICC and Business at the OECD (BIAC) have issued a joint statement to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on high-level principles for trusted government access to personal data.

ICC and BIAC have joined forces to deliver a statement – supported by over 20 business associations globally – to the OECD as it embarks on developing high-level principles and guidance on government access to private-sector held personal data. The joint business statement features private sector insights on economic consequences associated with the current lack of legal certainty and clarity. The joint statement emphasises the urgency of articulating common practices shared by OECD members and outlines necessary safeguards to ensure that a high standard of privacy is set and a firm foundation for building trust.

ICC firmly believes that the benefits of trade depend on the trusted flow of data between countries. Data transfers are estimated to contribute $2.8 trillion to global GDP—a share that exceeds the global trade in goods and is expected to grow to $11 trillion by 2025. This value is shared by traditional industries like agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing, which realise 75% of the value of the data transfers.

As OECD members are setting out to develop high-level principles for trusted government access to personal data held by the private sector, ICC and BIAC are joining forces to rally businesses worldwide in support of this opportunity to bring more clarity and transparency and therefore increase trust among governments, businesses and internet users and create a more predictable environment for global data flows to enable digital transformation at a time when economic recovery is top of mind for governments around the world.

On the release of the joint ICC-BIAC statement, Timea Suto, ICC Knowledge Manager, said:

“Trust in international data flows is being eroded over concerns that government demands to access personal data held by the private sector may conflict with universal human rights and freedoms – including privacy rights – or even violate domestic laws when such access transcends borders. These increased concerns have led to uncertainty that may discourage individuals, businesses, and governments from participating in the global economy – which would bring severe economic consequences.

“ICC believes that there is an opportunity at the OECD to create high-level shared principles that will provide governments and businesses with both legal clarity and certainty. We look forward to working with the OECD, BIAC and other global business associations to ensure that these high-level prinicples ensure a high standard of privacy and build trust.”

Governments share common interests in preventing, investigating, prosecuting serious crime, and addressing national security threats. They also share a firm commitment to protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals – including the fundamental right to privacy – when personal data is subject to government access. When governments lose sight of these common values, conducting business can become costly and infeasible for organisations of all sizes and across all sectors, especially when the cross-border free flow of data – essential to domestic and multinational business operations and communications – is restricted.

Download the statement now.