As the pandemic changed our everyday lives, we developed a need for a degree of virtual connectivity that did not previously exist. This is one reason why digitalization is accelerating around the world, as data and technology are increasingly integral to everything we do. From scheduling a doctor’s appointment on your smart phone to hanging out with friends and family on Zoom, there is an elevated need for tools to help us cross the digital divide and increase our access to validated information and technology with purpose.
Combine this rapid integration of data and technology with the rise of autonomous vehicles, 5G, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and international policy makers are presented with new and different challenges to resolve regarding cybersecurity, privacy, and data standards.
This is why Siemens USA has joined a group of international business leaders representing manufacturing, finance, healthcare, electronics, and apparel to create a forum that can bring leading nations together to address the challenges of cross-border data flows. At the G7 Summit this June, Siemens will support the call to action to create a Data and Technology Forum aiming to prevent divergence in how data and technology are treated from one country to the next.
Siemens believes a Data and Technology Forum among G7 nations can help foster strong communication and solutions to address the challenges faced by industry and governments alike. Doing so may turn existing challenges into new opportunities. By demonstrating leadership and solutions to the challenges of data and technology, along with engagement with local leaders and data managers, a template may be set for larger multilateral conversations on technology-related issues. Only together can leading nations develop a framework allowing businesses to compete globally while bringing economic growth and opportunity to more people across the globe.
Another group that is already underway, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of more than 30 countries, expects to reach a multilateral agreement on digital services taxes and a global minimum tax in 2021, a huge undertaking to address how and where to tax data and information. However, deeper and more unified collaboration on data flows among leading nations is the best path forward.
Right now, jurisdictions from India to Europe to the United States to Southeast Asia are grappling with how to regulate, standardize, secure, and tax data and technology as a form of commercial activity. In some cases, governments are moving ahead with their own requirements for data localization, privacy, and taxation, despite the fact the flow of data, in many ways, sees no physical borders. Such unilateral measures can create increased costs, pose risk to privacy, and simply restrict the free flow of data from one user to the next.
As the 4th Industrial Revolution hits the global pandemic head-on, the use of massive amounts of data across systems, industries, and nations is impacting our communities and supporting the fair and just exchanges of information—from financial data to data analysis on industrial processes. Now is the moment to bring leading nations together to establish a Data and Technology Forum—a desired outcome of the G7 Summit—as we look towards the endless possibilities for software and hardware to bridge the digital and physical worlds.
AUTHOR BIO: Drew Wayne is the Director of Tax and Trade on the Government Affairs team at Siemens USA. He joined Siemens in 2020 after nearly a decade of work on Capitol Hill for a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, most recently as Chief of Staff. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from St. John Fisher College.
Published: April 7, 2021