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News Brief

April 11, 2012

ICC Gathering Assesses Digital Economy Business Priorities

Over 40 digital economy experts from 14 countries gathered at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) headquarters in Paris to discuss business priorities relating to the information and communication technologies (ICT) and Internet policy landscape.

The two-day meeting of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy, included discussion on topics ranging from the development of new technologies and business models, to the full expanse of Internet-related policy matters.


A number of USCIB members actively participated in the ICC commission, whose members are drawn from ICC national committees (like USCIB) around the world.


The meeting also included remote participation

Herbert Heitman, executive vice president of external communications at Royal Dutch Shell and chair of the Digital Economy Commission led the meeting and stressed the importance of business engagement in ICT and Internet issues.

During a status report on ICC input to a European Commission communication on "a comprehensive approach to personal data protection in the European Union," Christopher Kuner, chair of the ICC Task Force on Privacy and the Protection of Personal Data, explained how the directive would extend beyond the boundaries of the EU to impact businesses around the world. Joe Alhadeff, chief privacy strategist and vice president for global public policy at Oracle Corporation (and vice chair of USCIB’s Information, Communications and Technology Policy Committee), supported Mr. Kuner’s remarks and added: “Every industry one way or another will be affected by this regulation. ICC must make every effort to communicate to businesses worldwide how this regulation will impact them.”

In an afternoon session dedicated to the work of the ICC Task Force on Internet and Telecommunications, Eric Loeb, vice president, international external affairs at AT&T, led discussions relating to the development of ICC policy recommendations on the modernization of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) – agreements between two countries for the purpose of exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws. These agreements have not been updated to reflect the contemporary communications environment, and this creates legal uncertainty for industry and governments. ICC has recognized as a top priority the need for governments and the private sector both to establish a responsible balance of interests on law enforcement assistance requests, and to minimize situations where industry is in the middle of a conflict of laws between two countries. Modernized MLATs could support both goals.

“The ICC work on this would be an unprecedented effort by industry to identify specific best practices for both government and private sector, and aims to help avert the trend of government local infrastructure/storage mandates, and to preserve cross-border data flows,” Mr. Loeb said.

Click here to read more on ICC’s website.

Staff Contact: Heather Shaw

More on USCIB’s Information, Communications and Technology Policy (ICT) Committee