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ABAC recommends expanded cross-border data sharing and privacy enhancing technologies

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On October 24, ABAC together with the Asia Pacific Financial Forum (APFF) organized the ABAC Finance Webinar on Expanded Cross-Border Data Sharing and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), and co-presented by ABAC Philippines and Aboitiz. The virtual roundtable looks at at innovations in financial services, where enhanced and secure cross-border data flows are critical.

The main barrier to data flows is not the lack of tools but the complexity of the policy regime. Current regulations in many cases, while intended to facilitate, have actually brought inconsistencies between the regulatory approaches and legal frameworks. 

In 2019, ABAC proposed an APEC Roadmap for a New Financial Services Data Ecosystem. The Roadmap, developed by APFF, recommended leveraging regional collaboration towards achieving interoperability of privacy regimes across jurisdictions and identifying privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) that could be used to expand cross-border data sharing compliant with privacy laws and regulations.

This year, ABAC Philippines proposed a work plan to further facilitate cross-border data-flows, especially in the financial services. This, we have finalized in our Report to APEC Finance Ministers during our ABAC III meeting last July in Cebu. 

To facilitate expanded cross-border data sharing, especially in financial services in the region, ABAC recommended to APEC Finance Ministers for APEC economies to:

  • ABAC recommended that APEC member economies actively explore the coordinated adoption of a toolbox of business-level mechanisms supporting the goal of secure and trusted sharing of data in the region. These could include interoperable contractual safeguards, binding corporate rules, certification, codes of conduct or privacy codes, and harmonizing exemptions currently granted under existing legal or administrative frameworks.
  • The Council recommended that APEC member economies develop common core principles for data protection that promote wider and safer data sharing and address uncertainties arising from measures that restrict the flow of data.
  • ABAC also recommended that APEC member economies foster innovation in relation to privacy enhancing technologies (PETs). This can be achieved through measures such as supporting research and development, providing secure data processing platforms, certification of trusted PETs, innovation contests, regulatory sandboxes and digital identity management, among others.

The webinar hosted two sessions – the first is on policy and regulatory innovations for cross-border data sharing, and the second on the wider adoption of privacy enhancing technologies. It seeks to provide more details on the ABAC recommendations, drawing from the report of two Roundtables Toward Freer Safe and Trusted Flow of Data in the Asia-Pacific Region[1]

The outcomes of the discussion would be for consideration of the Finance Ministers, relevant officials, and the APEC Leaders in the upcoming meetings in San Francisco this November. It is also directed to policy makers and regulators, and other stakeholders, including multilateral institutions, the business community and the academe, who are enjoined to collaborate in translating these recommendations into concrete reform measures and instruments.

[1] http://www2.abaconline.org/content/download/22632381

ABAC Finance Task Force, ABAC PH, Cross-border data sharing, financial inclusion