Listening to Users and Other Ideas for Building Trust in Digital Trade

CIGI Paper No. 258

September 27, 2021

This paper argues that if trade policy makers truly want to achieve data free flow with trust, they must address user concerns beyond privacy. Survey data reveals that users are also anxious about online harassment, malware, censorship and disinformation. The paper focuses on three such problems, specifically, internet shutdowns, censorship and ransomware (a form of malware), each of which can distort trade and make users feel less secure online. Finally, the author concludes that trade policy makers will need to rethink how they involve the broad public in digital trade policy making if they want digital trade agreements to facilitate trust.

About the Author

Susan Ariel Aaronson is a CIGI senior fellow, research professor of international affairs at George Washington University and co-principal investigator with the National Science Foundation/National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she leads research on data and AI governance.