The 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners closed yesterday in Mauritius, resulting in the adoption of a number of resolutions, including one on enforcement cooperation. The latter follows on from previous statements regarding the need for further coordination of cross-border investigation and enforcement by the data protection commissioners.
We do live in a global, always-connected, borderless world, and that’s cool because I can work for a U.S.-based company from Italy and stay in touch with my husband no matter what corner of the world he is in. My parents didn’t have that luxury, and although they would rarely move outside of the home/work area, I can name countless times when my mother risked a heart attack because my father’s car broke down, or he ran out of fuel on the way home—yes, that actually happened once—and he had no way of contacting her for hours.
Anyway, the luxury of a borderless world comes at a price and brings some challenges. From a strictly legal data protection point of view, it is clear that EU legislators are struggling: Though the EU was created with the very intent of removing national borders and ensuring the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, negotiations on the EU data protection package—see one-stop-shop mechanism, for example—tell a different story. Not to mention transatlantic discussions.
Borderless also doesn’t have a positive connotation when a deadly virus is spreading like, well, like a virus. But perhaps big data can help with that, so not all hope is lost, and we’re back to where we started: Maybe borderless and always-connected is a luxury after all.
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