International Trend to Increase Local Data Server Requirements Will Harm Economic Growth and Fragment Global Networks

June 7, 2012

Washington – Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of leading U.S. CEOs, today issued a report, “Promoting Economic Growth Through Smart Global IT Policy,” expressing concerns about the emerging threat posed by local data server requirements in several countries. The report takes issue with overbroad requirements that harm global business and consumer experiences.  

Local data server requirements mandate the use of server infrastructure within the borders of a country, rather than allowing businesses flexibility to determine the most secure, reliable and economically effective locations for servers. Although there may be instances of genuine national security interests that merit a country’s requirement for certain data server activity to be within a country, such requirements should be narrowly applied in the least restrictive manner possible.

“The core issue is economic growth,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, and Chairman of Business Roundtable Global IT Policy Subcommittee. Further, Stephenson, speaking on behalf of the Subcommittee, said, “A globally networked economy dramatically improves the speed of commerce and drives prosperity around the world. Local data server requirements add extra steps and put these things at risk. So, it’s important to everyone’s economic future that they not become a systemic problem.”

The report is further evidence that new restrictions on global commerce are being devised and implemented by nations throughout the world. These new barriers that force the local conduct of strategic business activities include troublesome indigenous innovation requirements, which at times serve to protect local interests at the expense of international competition. 

Among its recommendations to reverse the tide of local data server requirements, BRT called on the U.S. Government to:

  • Ensure the United States leads by example, and set a global gold standard for implementation of Global IT Policy.
  • Take the additional actions to fully implement policies that address local data server requirements, such as the EU- U.S. Trade Principles for Information and Communication Technology Services and the OECD Principles for Internet Policy-Making;
  • Formally clarify that it will not impose blanket local data server requirements, and that it will narrowly limit any such restrictions to genuine national security concerns; and
  • Work with other countries to implement an equivalent practice.

By delving deeper into global IT policy, today’s issue paper builds upon Business Roundtable’s “Taking Action for America: A CEO Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth, a comprehensive plan to put the United States back on the path of strong economic growth, released this March.