Multinationals call on G7 to coordinate digital policy

New York, March 23 (AFP/APP): Warning that fragmented policies could stifle innovation, a group of 25 major corporations called Monday for the G7 to establish a body to coordinate global rules on digital public policy.

The group, which includes US credit card giant Mastercard, German industrial heavyweight Siemens and Japan’s SoftBank, said policies must be aligned on cybersecurity, cross-border data flows and artificial intelligence.

The pandemic highlighted the importance of these areas, but digitization means “these technologies give rise to operational risks, such as hacking and data breaches, and regulatory risks from underdeveloped, poorly designed, or inconsistent legal frameworks,” the group said in a statement. “They also implicate important societal interests related to privacy, competition, and algorithmic bias.”

A lack of coordination has meant “some governments are moving quickly to regulate, often without sufficient expertise, adequate public input, or coordination with other governments,” the group said. The group likened the proposed body to the Financial Stability Board, which was created in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.

It would not be a “supranational regulator,” but would operate as a forum for governments to discuss and coordinate policies. Other signatories of the letter include US bank Citi, French energy company Engie, General Motors, IBM, Mercedez-Benz, Toyota, Visa and Zoom.

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