Democrats plan to fight data localization laws

U.S. democratic leadership will oppose future data localization policies and practices.

U.S. democratic leadership will oppose future data localization policies and practices — those that physically restrict data centers to where their contained data originated — according to the party’s 2016 draft platform published Friday by the Democratic National Committee.

“Democrats will fight against unfair theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. We will also increase access to global markets for American intellectual property and other digital trade by opposing quotas, discriminatory measures and data localization requirements,” the party platform reads

The Trans Pacific Partnership also introduced a ban on data localization, though numerous democratic lawmakers opposed the Obama administration-led agreement.

Some support data localization legislation because it can help determine legal jurisdictions for foreign governments, who design internet usage rules, Ron Cheng, partner with the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers, wrote


Alternatively, data localization can inhibit foreign tech companies from being competitive in a foreign market because of the installation cost associated with standing up a new domestic data center, according to a case study examining Russia’s data localization laws published by the BSA Software Alliance — a trade group established by Microsoft Corporation, which represents a cohort of prominent U.S. tech firms. 

Recently, China has pushed for data localization laws that would require private, foreign tech companies to migrate Chinese user data to equipment located within the country. 

The news follows one week after likely democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her own “tech and innovation” platform, which similarly explains efforts to safeguard the “free flow of information” by discouraging data localization laws.

Clinton’s platform criticizes data localization as “the use of surreptitious means of accessing sought-after data, and unilateral assertions that often put U.S.-based companies in the middle of conflicting legal regimes.” 

Chris Bing

Written by Chris Bing

Christopher J. Bing is a cybersecurity reporter for CyberScoop. He has written about security, technology and policy for the American City Business Journals, DC Inno, International Policy Digest and The Daily Caller. Chris became interested in journalism as a result of growing up in Venezuela and watching the country shift from a democracy to a dictatorship between 1991 and 2009. Chris is an alumnus of St. Marys College of Maryland, a small liberal arts school based in Southern Maryland. He's a fan of Premier League football, authentic Laotian food and his dog, Sam.

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