• Home
  • YLS Today
  • Events
  • Challenging the Silicon Valley Consensus: Data Governance in TPP, USMCA, and Beyond, Thomas Streinz, New York University School of Law
January 15 Tuesday

Challenging the Silicon Valley Consensus: Data Governance in TPP, USMCA, and Beyond, Thomas Streinz, New York University School of Law

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 12:10PM - 1:30PM
  • Room 121
  • Open To The Yale Community
  • Add to Calendar:


This talk offers a critical analysis of recent efforts to craft new rules for the global data economy in trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the ‘new NAFTA’ between the US, Mexico, and Canada (USMCA). Both agreements reflect the Silicon Valley consensus of uninhibited data flows and light touch privacy regulation. The US championed rules for free data flows and against data localization as part of its ‘digital trade agenda’ which adapts trade law instruments to an increasingly data-driven economy. Despite its withdrawal from TPP, the US continues to advocate its model for global data governance in other settings and pushed for a similar set of rules in the USMCA. Strikingly, the remaining parties of the original TPP resurrected the agreement with only minor modifications.

The talk argues that the eleven non-US TPP parties endorsed the Silicon Valley consensus due to a lack of alternatives and persistent misperceptions about the realities of the global data economy. The conventional trade discourse underestimates the importance of data governance questions, operates without reliable information about the transnational data economy, continues to overlook the losers of the digital transformation, underappreciates the right to regulate data, and misjudges the transnational nature of the global data economy. Countries who have not yet ratified TPP ought to reevaluate the Silicon Valley consensus and develop alternative models. Hence, the talk suggests a new approach for the inclusion of data governance provisions in future international trade agreements that offers more flexibility for innovative digital industrial policies, experimental data regulation, and more transparent and inclusive rule-making.

Thomas Streinz is Adjunct Professor of Law, Executive Director of Guarini Global Law & Tech, and a Fellow of the Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) at New York University School of Law where he teaches the Guarini Colloquium: International Law of Global Digital Corporations (with Benedict Kingsbury and Joseph H. H. Weiler) and the Global Tech Law: Selected Topic Seminar. He is one of the editors of Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP (OUP 2019). His current research interests include global economic governance, the governance of digital infrastructures, the regulation of the global data economy, and global law and technology.

Sponsoring Organization(s)