Policy Brief

Developing Interoperability Mechanisms to Enable Cross-Border Data Flows

December 2023

Access to and use of data is a key element of the digital economy, and it enables international trade. This has made data governance central to any successful policy to support economic growth. Data governance requires regulation that enables access to data and creates trust amongst governments, businesses and consumers who are online in increasingly interconnected ways.This policy brief follows-on from a DCO report “Enabling Cross-Border Data Flows Amongst the Digital Cooperation Organization Member States” published earlier this year – in October 2023. The report provides a detailed analysis of the data governance regulations across DCO Member States. As shown in that report, there has been significant growth in data governance regulations affecting cross-border data flows. These regulations have been enacted for a range of reasons that include the protection of personal data, content regulation, financial regulation and for national security purposes.This policy brief focuses on the opportunities that interoperability mechanisms provide for enabling cross-border data flows while also respecting a country’s regulatory autonomy. Interoperability mechanisms can help DCO Member States maximize the opportunities from cross-border data flows while also safeguarding privacy, consumer protection, and pursuing their national interests. This policy brief further highlights the steps that the DCO Member States can take to develop these interoperability mechanisms. These steps could include, amongst others, agreeing on common data privacy principles, developing common data classification for DCO Member States, promoting privacy enhancing technologies (PETs), and maintaining an online repository of all DCO Member State regulations affecting cross-border data flows.