It is increasingly common to hear scholars, regulators, and executives state that data is the planet’s most valuable resource. As the recognition of the value of data in the global economy has steadily risen, so has public interest in how data is owned, transferred, and utilized by both public and private entities. That, in turn, is shaped by long standing cultural and legal traditions as well as the overarching principles which determine the governance of a country.
Modern digital economies depend on a steady flow of data-driven technological innovations to grow, but with such innovations come reasonable concerns about the privacy and autonomy of individuals to whom the data relates, with both unprecedented and far-reaching consequences. This paper explores the ‘regulatory tightrope’ awaiting policy makers across different global jurisdictions (with their own particular economic interests) as they seek to balance protecting individual consumer interest and maximizing welfare gain while not stifling innovation, technological progress, and economic growth.