Data Flow

Even if there is agreement among all cultures affected by a particular transnational DSS regarding the privacy or protection of data and the availability of data, there can still be problems. There may be restrictions about where data can reside, where they can be processed, and how access can be maintained. Some countries, such as Canada, maintain that allowing data to be processed outside their borders would reduce their control over disruptions in service, reduce their ability to ensure protection against personal privacy violations and computer crime, jeopardize their jurisdiction over companies operating in their borders, undermine the telecommunications system, and emphasize foreign values, goods, and services. In addition, Canadian officials recognize the potential for both release of information that is vital to Canada and the loss of independence and autonomy to other countries. Similarly, in Britain, it is believed that only its government can assess the national interest of information and the U.K.’s vulnerability to disruptions in the availability of that information.


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Reports in both Latin America and Africa recommend that:

• Data affecting national sovereignty, cultural identity, and technological progress should be protected against processing in other countries.

• Data should remain in the country of origin. • External information should be screened.

The three messages that guide all of these concerns about transborder data flow are the following.

• It is imperative that the data processing industry of the country is preserved. If transborder processing of data is allowed, the data processing industry would be threatened and potentially eliminated. Since much of the hope for long-term eco- nomic survival for most countries depends on their ability to participate in the “information technology race” successfully, it is imperative that the data process- ing industry be maintained and bolstered.

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