Paul M. Schwartz, Karl-Nikolaus Peifer | International Data Privacy Law
Due to the significance of international flows of personal information, the stakes are high today for the European Union and the United States when it comes to data privacy law. According to one estimate, the U.S.-EU economic relationship involves $260 billion in annual digital services trade.1 Cross-border information flows represent the fastest growing component of U.S. as well as EU trade.2 In today’s information economy, moreover, much of this U.S.-EU trade involves personal data. As one reporter on the tech beat noted, “International data transfers are the lifeblood of the digital economy.”3 The sharing and use of personal information now drive many daily activities, including finances, health care, shopping, telecommunications, and transportation. Leading U.S. technology companies depend on access to and use of the personal information of EU citizens to provide data-driven services on the continent. Cloud providers, which offer decentralized mobile access to computing power throughout the world, similarly access and use the personal data of EU citizens. Differences in transatlantic regulations potentially imperil these critical international data flows.