Advancing the free flow of information

The global economy relies on the free flow of information more than ever before. Companies large and small can use the Internet to reach new markets, which contributes to economic growth, job creation, and increased trade around the world.

But as companies and individuals are transmitting more information online, some governments are seeking to impose limits on the free flow of information. More than 40 governments now block or restrict information and data available on the Internet.

Last year, we released a white paper demonstrating that governments which block the free flow of information on the Internet are also blocking trade and economic growth. For example, when companies can’t confidentially and confidently transmit the files and information that are necessary to keep their business running, their ability to export goods and services is hurt. The thesis is simple: when countries support the free flow of information, they will see more economic growth.

That’s why we joined companies like Citi, Microsoft, IBM, GE and others to endorse a new set of principles endorsing the free flow of information across borders. The principles, written under the leadership of the National Foreign Trade Council, outline several priorities for the U.S. business community which will promote transparent, fair, and secure cross-border data flows.

Individuals and businesses will benefit from a more consistent and transparent framework for the treatment of cross-border flows of goods, services and information. We look forward to continued work with governments and industry to advance the free flow of information online.