Susan Aaronson writes on global data sharing and digital trade

February 10, 2023

Susan Aaronson

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor; Director, Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor and Director of the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub, recently published three articles on data as a digital good that poses its unique value and challenges.

In the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, she argues that trade policy-makers must pay closer attention to users’ concerns if they truly want to achieve ‘data free flow with trust’, and that how policy-makers respond to user concerns is as important as what they include in trade agreements. Finally, she notes that trade negotiators will need to rethink how they involve the broad public in digital trade policy-making, while recognizing that trade policy agreements may not be the best place to address these problems.

In "Wicked Problems Might Inspire Greater Data Sharing", published on IDEAS, she argues that data should be considered a shareable, public good. She writes that "The world is drowning in data, yet much of that data remains hidden and underutilized.”  As a result, the benefits of having such data do not meet its public good purposes. Aaron suggests that a new agency act as a counterweight in the interest of the public good to create a demand and market for data sharing.  

In “Building Trust in Digital Trade will Require a Rethink of Trade Policymaking", published on CIGI, she argues that to achieve a "data free flow with trust," policymakers must first address users' regulatory concerns. She begins by examining the difficulties in building and enforcing digital trade agreements, as well as their three main challenges: internet shutdowns/censorship, disinformation, and ransomware.