Leading technology and payments companies including Mastercard, Visa, SoftBank and IBM are lobbying the G7 to create The Data and Technology Forum which they hope will co-ordinate how members tackle issues like artificial intelligence and cyber security.
The intent is to model The Data and Technology Forum on the Financial Stability Board that was created after the 2008 financial crisis, to provide recommendations on how tech governance can be co-ordinated internationally, rather than proposing firm regulations.
“We believe a similar forum [to the FSB] is urgently needed to prevent fragmentation and strengthen international co-operation and consensus on digital governance issues,” said Michael Froman, vice-chair and president of strategic growth for Mastercard. “There is a window of opportunity — right now — to strengthen collaboration.”
The proposal comes as countries’ approaches to tech policy are becoming increasingly divergent, creating problems of international co-operation, while concerns grow globally over issues such as privacy and data security.
The 25 companies involved come from a broad range of sectors, including payment providers Visa and Nexi, carmakers Toyota and Mercedes and global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline.
Like the Basel-based FSB, which was set up to identify and address systemic risks in the financial system, the new body would provide a forum for tackling major challenges in the tech sector such as cross-border data transfers and the regulation of artificial intelligence.
Froman said the forum was “essential” to promote trust in new technologies while avoiding diverging industry standards.
The body would work with existing organisations such as the World Trade Organization, and professional standard-setting bodies.
The new body’s first three areas of focus would be co-operation on cyber security, the alignment of AI frameworks and the global interoperability of data.
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