Davos, Jan 23 : Japan will launch a new track for looking at data governance under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Wednesday.
This new track, to be set in motion at the June G20 Summit, will define ways for personal and security data under careful privacy protection, while at the same time facilitating the free flow of medical, industrial, traffic and other data.
"I would like Osaka G20 to be long remembered as the summit that started world-wide data governance. Let Osaka G20 set in train a new track for looking at data governance -- call it the Osaka Track -- under the roof of the WTO," Abe said in a special address to the World Economy Forum.
Pointing out that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day, he said digital data will be driving the economy forward for decades to come. "We must, on one hand, be able to put our personal data and data embodying intellectual property, national security intelligence, and so on, under careful protection, while on the other hand, we must enable the free flow of medical, industrial, traffic and other most useful, non-personal, anonymous data to see no borders, repeat, no borders."
Abe said the the regime to be built is one for D.F.F.T., Data Free Flow with Trust -- non-personal data, needless to say. It is not the big, capital intensive industries, but rather we individuals who will benefit from both the fourth industrial revolution and what is called “Society 5.0,” which this fourth industrial revolution would bring about.
In Society 5.0, it is no longer capital but data that connects and drives everything, helping to fill the gap between the rich and the less privileged. Services of medicine and education, from elementary to tertiary, will reach small villages in the Sub Saharan region. Girls who have given up going to school will see, beyond their own village, a wider horizon where the sky is the limit.
"We must make data a great gap buster."
Through AI, IoT and robotics, the data-driven Society 5.0 will bring about a new reality for urbanity. The cities will be made much more livable for all sorts of people from all walks of life.
Abe restated Japan's commitment to the global rules-based system, emphasized by its commitment to new free-trade agreements, including the recently enacted TPP11 and the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that will enter into force on February 1.
"When we say, we need to change the WTO, we are still thinking about goods, agricultural or otherwise, for which distances and borders matter. We have yet to catch up with the new reality, in which data drives everything, where the D.F.F.T., the Data Free Flow with Trust, should top the agenda in our new economy."
In a sense, it's all déjà-vu, he said. When John D. Rockefeller was building Standard Oil, no one knew what to do with gasoline. Dumped into the nearby Cuyahoga River, gasoline caused fires many times. It took 3 to 4 decades before we humans came to know the value of gasoline. About 20 years into the twentieth century, gasoline was running cars and flying airplanes.
It is the same about data. Around 1995, the Internet was used on a massive scale, but it was almost 20 years into the 21st century that data was found to be driving the economy.
"It will be great if every one of us, from the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and India, to leap frogging countries in Africa, share our efforts and our successes in breathing fresh life into the WTO." (UNI)