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Data protectionism is on the rise, Russell Group warns | Insurance Business

The impending introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) this month is an example of the growing data protectionist mentality that is sweeping the global economy, according to risk management firm Russell Group.

In a new whitepaper, ‘Digital Balkanisation: Is International Data Protection Going Global or Local?’ the Group looks at whether the global economy is on the verge of new data wars, embodied in both the GDPR legislation and the investigation of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica by the UK and US governments.

According to the paper, while we live in a world of “global data flows,” the regulatory response is fragmented, and the definitions of personal data vary.

GDPR, which comes into force on May 25, has ultimately been created to protect EU residents’ privacy from businesses in markets with less robust privacy protections, and in doing so will act as a catalyst to the rest of the world to conform to its standards, states the report. Yet it could also be part of a wider picture of nationalist-based separatism that has been “brewing for some time.”

Suki Basi, managing director of Russell Group, said that while the wealth of data available today has become the norm, it is not without potential downsides.

“It is a given that data is a widely available tool in today's economy that can be accessed with ease by everyone. Yet, there are many pitfalls with the growing use of data that this whitepaper seeks to address,” Basi commented.

“We believe that this is an imperative, especially in today's climate where there is a the growing digital ‘arms race’ between reinsurers and corporates as they seek to adopt the latest new technology, without truly understanding what their relationship is with the data that they hold.”



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