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Implications of Chinese-U.S. Consumer Data Policies on Issues of Sovereignty

Presenters Name: 
Aileen Zhang
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Aynne Kokas
Secondary Research Mentor: 
11:00 - 12:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 11:00am to 12:15pm
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

Online platforms like social media or “smart” appliances capture intimate aspects of our daily lives. This captured consumer data is now one of the most coveted resources of the 21st century. As personal data is increasingly caught between corporations and governments, consumers are inadvertently finding themselves vulnerable to regulations that restrict the movement of consumer data. My faculty mentor’s book project, Border Patrol on the Digital Frontier: The United States, China, and Global Battle for Data Security, seeks to define how the storage and flow of personal data are now entangled with issues of sovereignty and power. Through the analysis of U.S. and China data regulations, policy documents, corporate case studies, interviews with policymakers, and more, our research aims to understand the industries and groups affected by controls on data. Our work argues that through the limitations of data flows, China shapes its citizens’ national identities and their relationship with the world. Regulations like the 2017 Cybersecurity Law, allow China to set the terms of Sino-U.S. trade in the tech sector. These differences in U.S. and China policies towards the global data trade may have consequential implications towards international relations. Ultimately, our research intends to inform policymakers and citizens of the importance of issues surrounding the storage and flow of consumer data. As control over online data determines possession of cultural and political power and affects issues of cybersecurity, privacy, and data monetization, there is a need for increased consumer awareness and regulation of personal data.