Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT): Paths towards Free and Trusted Data Flows

Powered by data flows, digitalization has become crucial for the seamless functioning of economies and societies. Countries, however, can have concerns that once data moves abroad it will not be treated the same as at home. Jurisdictions do not trust each other to act appropriately on data governance. Motivated by objectives such as privacy, security, access to data, and industrial policy, national regulations often restrict the cross-border movement of data, resulting in fragmented and sometimes contradictory rules. A major international initiative on data flows, the Osaka Track, was launched by heads of governments under Japan’s G20 leadership in 2019. This paper develops a framework for ‘data free flow with trust’ – the key underlying concept of the Osaka Track. It maps a multi-dimensional architecture for international cooperation on data flows, between governments, as well as involving business, with recommendations to increase levels of governance trust and build openness through trade rules and other tools.