Push back against US bid to dominate data

By Wang Haibin

ON Tuesday, Facebook was reported as saying that it might quit Europe if the European Union enforces its ban on sharing data with the United States, which became possible after a ruling by the European Court of Justice in July found that “there were insufficient safeguards against snooping by US intelligence agencies”. If that came true, that would be a huge blow to Facebook. So the question becomes: Why does it insist on sharing user data with the US at such a huge risk?
That’s because the US is trying to lead, dominate, even reshape the rules for the transborder flow of data. There was a time when the US dominated the global digital economy, but the emergence of mass mobile terminals in Europe and the Asia-Pacific granted them the ability to challenge this old hegemony. In order to maintain its advantages in the digital economy as part of its global strategic advantages, the US hopes to write the rules for the global digital economy.
Protection of data is a key point of dispute. Since the Prism Project was revealed in 2013, the EU has been accelerating legislation to regulate transborder data flows to protect personal privacy and business privacy, yet the US insists on the “free” flow of data over borders as a means to maintain its own dominance.
Their tensions were made even higher by the above-mentioned ruling of the EU court in July, which actually invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement. In other words, the previous negotiations between the two sides on transborder data flows became ineffective. Europe is only one place where the US hopes to implement its version of rules. In the Asia-Pacific, the US relies more on multilateral agreements to form a circle that allows data to flow “freely” across borders. Sometimes it uses long-arm jurisdiction to strike at the enterprises that protect data and curb its unnecessary flow over borders, TikTok being a typical victim of that.
It should be noted that the US’ advocated “free” flow of data is not free at all. On the contrary, it hopes to put the data under its control. There is no hint that the EU will give ground to please the US, and China is standing firm in defending its own sovereignty in the data sphere as well. The US should rid itself of the illusion it can control everything.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item