Transborder Data Flows: Do We Mean Freedom or Business?

The growth of the modem “information society” is a phenomenon transcending national borders, characterized by tremendous progress in both telecommunications and computer technology – a technology called collectively “telematics.” Telematics have not only become the vital nervous system of our domestic economies and begun to play an increasing role in our private lifestyles, but have grown to link the nations of the world in constant, instantaneous, and complex ways. These communications and the data conveyed through them (whether their raw material is written text, tables, numbers, pictures, or voices), due to their importance, are in many respects a matter of concern for governments, and thus the object of national and/or international regulation.