Transborder Data Flow: Problems with the Council of Europe Convention, or Protecting States from Protectionism

Zimmerman, Jane A. | January 1, 1982

This comment will discuss the current status of national data protection laws and their effect on the conflict between the individual interest in retaining personal privacy and the business interest in preserving the free flow of information. Such discussion will highlight the consequences of the proposed Council of Europe Convention’s regulation of personal data. A brief look at the history f the information industry, as well as the costs of and justifications for transborder data flow, will serve to establish a framework for the issues and controversies which the Convention addresses. The comment will also focus on specific proviisons of the Council of Europe Convention to ascertain its potential burden on international business and potential impact on American trade, suggesting that the present terms of the treaty unnecessarily hamper the conduct of trade. Finally, several improvements will be proposed for future international agreements, emphasizing the role of the United States in developing such agreements.