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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
3/3/2015
10:34 AM
Michael I. Roth
Michael I. Roth
Commentary

How Data Restrictions Hurt The Global Economy

Many countries are creating policies to restrict the flow of data, driven by privacy or protectionist concerns. Such limits could stifle economic growth.

(Image: NASA)

(Image: NASA)

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danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
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3/5/2015 | 11:11:40 PM
Re: How Data Restrictions Hurt The Global Economy
These restrictions seem stupid to me. The whole point of the internet is to break down barriers and enable global communication.

But governments clearly see this as a threat. I don't know what the remedy is to this, although I feel like more people should really be concerned here. Data restrictions of this nature are simply never a good thing. 
zerox203
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zerox203,
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3/4/2015 | 4:07:47 PM
Re: How Data Restrictions Hurt The Global Economy
You're certainly right about at least one thing, Michael - it can't be understated just how fundamental unrestricted data sharing is to the global economy, and to people's lives, today. Moreover, the margins by which many, many companies succeed are already driven by the idea that this data sharing is near-cost-free and won't cause them any headaches, so even the slightest alteration to that status quo could do big damage to their profitability and thereby their ability to offer competitively priced, innovative services. Imagine a chinese vendor who sells consumer electronics online at cut rates where the profits are just pennies. Consumers take this for granted, but what happens to their customer service if the cost of doing business goes up? Any decision to restrict or regulate that which is already open should not be taken lightly.

That being said, I do feel that that knife cuts both ways. As you said, many such laws are well-intentioned. Consumers have given up many of their rights without even realizing it - rather than laws being in place that either protect consumers or companies' rights, things just pushed ahead without any regulation at all. It's a wild west. Consultation with private sector experts who know their industry and the technologies at play are crucial, as governments are likely to make politically-motivated, uneducated leaps where technology is involved, but you seem to have left out the other end of the equation - ultimately, the laws should reflect the people's will. Ensuring they have proper education in making those decisions and the repercussions they'll have on the economy is a pursuit of it's own, but in no case should companies' needs supercede the will of the public, connected though they are.
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