US-ASEAN Business Council launches new report on strengthening the regional data ecosystem at ASEAN data governance forum

(Bangkok) – The US-ASEAN Business Council continued its ongoing dialogue series with ASEAN Member States focused on strengthening digital data governance policies across the region.  On August 23, the Council hosted the 3rd and final ASEAN-U.S. Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF) of 2019, held alongside the 2nd ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials and ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators’ Council (TELSOM-ATRC) Leaders’ Retreat in Bangkok.

During the DPCF, the Council also launched a new report, “Digital Data Governance in ASEAN: Key Elements for a Data Driven Economy,” to provide several recommendations for implementing ASEAN’s Framework on Digital Data Governance.

The report offers recommendations supporting strategic priorities and guiding principles in the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance for consideration as ASEAN continues to foster a data-driven economy. The report highlights the importance of data flowing within and between countries for businesses to serve customers, develop new products and services, and boost cyber security.  In governing this data, the report recommends the development of flexible, outcome-oriented policies and encourages the adoption of internationally-recognized standards and best practices.

Regarding data classification, the report outlines an approach for ASEAN to consider. The report recommends the development of a non-binding, risk-based framework to offer guidance on data classification based on international standards. Such a framework would enable ASEAN Member States and companies flexibility in classifying their own data, appropriate to their respective needs and sectors. The report also recommends existing cross border transfer mechanisms for ASEAN to consider adopting. These mechanisms include certification regimes, standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules. These and other established mechanisms can help ensure appropriate safeguards are in place so that data privacy and security are protected when transferred across borders.

The three-part DPCF series was held on the sidelines of each of the ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC meetings in 2019. The three Forums offered ASEAN policymakers and leading U.S. companies a shared platform for candid, forthcoming exchanges on the need to foster secure data management best practices to address and manage exponential growth of today's volumes of data.

The 1st DPCF was held on April 8, 2019 on the sidelines of the 1st ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat in Manila, Philippines. This DPCF examined policy approaches to creating an enabling environment for increased investment and growth of the data ecosystem in ASEAN. The 2nd DPCF was organized on the sidelines of the 2019 ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Joint Working Group Meeting in Yangon, Myanmar on May 10, 2019, and explored the role of regulations and industry best practices in ensuring the security of ASEAN’s data ecosystem. The 3rd and final forum of 2019 focused on how ASEAN can become a leader in data governance through promoting the adoption of global best practices.

“The DPCF has been a chance to build momentum and continuity in discussions through its three-part series over several months,” said Shay Wester, Senior Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The series has also enabled leading U.S. companies and ASEAN officials to explore a variety of avenues of public-private partnership and encourage the congruence of private and public sector interests. Digital data governance is critical to all businesses and for our third DPCF, we shared perspectives from across the spectrum, from the tech industry, to financial services and healthcare.” 

In addition to the ASEAN Secretariat, the 3rd 2019 DPCF was attended by TELSOM officials from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.

This DPCF event was made possible with the support of Amazon Web Services, Citi, Facebook, Google, Seagate and Visa. Other US-ASEAN Business Council members that participated include: AT&T, Becton Dickinson, Cisco and Mastercard.

The Council’s paper on “Digital Data Governance in ASEAN: Key Elements for a Data Driven Economy” can be accessed here.

 

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.