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Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia

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A report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit finds that nearly 60% of IT, technology and telecoms firms in Asia think that their interests are not considered when governments conduct FTA negotiations. Nevertheless, 94% of companies in these sectors say that the FTAs they are using have boosted their exports to corresponding markets.

These are among the key findings of Growing together? Free trade and Asia’s technology sector, the third in a series of reports sponsored by HSBC that examines Asian businesses’ attitude towards FTAs and usage of their provisions. The report is based in part on the findings of a survey conducted in the first quarter of 2014 that included 123 information technology and telecoms companies across eight Asia-Pacific markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Technology executives interviewed for the report say governments and trade policy remain oriented towards “traditional” sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, historically the main sources of employment and generally more activist in trade matters. Many executives also feel existing agreements have done little to promote change or harmonisation in the areas where technology firms see the biggest barriers to international expansion—such as intellectual property protection, e-commerce and rules governing the use of data. Some 76% of Asian IT and telecoms firms want governments to sign FTAs with more comprehensive provisions.

Most technology firms (67%—the highest proportion of any industry in the broader survey) also support a return to multilateral negotiations via the WTO. This implies a high degree of support for the currently stalled talks on the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Technology firms seem to have lower expectations for the major trade initiatives currently being pursued at the regional level, such as the ASEAN Economic Community and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia

  1. 1. Finding their way Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia An Economist Intelligence Unit report Commissioned by
  2. 2. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 1 Contents About the report 2 About the survey 3 1. Awareness and corporate challenges 4 2. The importance of data privacy 6 3. Little faith in regulators 9 4. Barriers to growth 11 5. Corporate countermeasures 13 6. The road ahead 14 Appendix: Survey results 15
  3. 3. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia About the report Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia is a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by SafeNet. Kim Andreasson was the author and Laurel West was the editor. The report draws on a survey of 360 executives in Asia, all of whom are familiar with their company’s policies on data 2 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 privacy. The survey findings are supplemented by wide-ranging desk research. The Economist Intelligence Unit bears sole responsibility for the content of this report and the findings do not necessarily reflect the views of the commissioning organisation.
  4. 4. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia About the survey © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 3 In May 2014, The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a survey of 360 executives to assess corporate attitudes towards data privacy and its effect on businesses in Asia. Nearly half (47 %) of survey respondents are board members or C-level executives, including 92 CEOs. All respondents are based in Asia-Pacific with a majority located in India (24%), Australia (23%), Singapore (22%), and Hong Kong (10%). Over half of the survey respondents (55%) work for companies with global annual revenues exceeding US$500m. Nineteen different industries are represented in the survey sample, led by financial services (26%), professional services (14%), and information technology (IT) and technology (11%). The primary functional roles of respondents are general management (43%), strategy and business development (39%), and marketing and sales (22%).
  5. 5. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 1 Ericsson: http://www. ericsson.com/res/docs/ whitepapers/wp-big-data. pdf 2 Also see Privacy International: https:// www.privacyinternational. org/reports/a-new-dawn-privacy- in-asia 1 Awareness and corporate challenges The rapid rise of the Internet and the diffusion of new digital technologies are creating a sea of data that is only getting bigger and deeper. This is leading to new business opportunities for organisations that are able to store, analyse and process data about current or potential customers. Citing IDC, a research company, Ericsson says revenues in the big data technology and services market alone are expected to reach US$16.9bn in 2015.1 At the same time, data privacy has emerged as a key concern. Regulations in this area vary among jurisdictions and are also still evolving, leading to a complex environment for businesses trying to leverage data while managing it properly. In Europe, which has had strong data protection policies in place since 1995, the European Commission proposed an updated European General Data Protection Regulation in January 2012 in order to strengthen online privacy rights and standardise implementation across the region. In the US, the Obama Administration A benefit 4 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 announced a “Privacy Bill of Rights” in February 2012 to improve consumer online protection in a uniform way across industries, replacing sector-specific regulation. This growing trend is also occurring in Asia, with recent initiatives in many countries including Australia, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.2 Although strict regulations can limit corporate options, many companies in these countries also welcome them as they can level the playing field for competition. In the survey of 360 Asian executives conducted for this report, those who believe that national data privacy regulation is a benefit to their business outnumber those who say it is a burden by 3 to 2 (cited by 33% and 20% respectively (Figure 1)). Almost half of respondents (44%) did not think it was either a benefit or a burden. But this obviously depends on what the regulations look like in a local context. In Singapore, almost one-half (48%) of executives say national In the country in which you are located, is national data privacy regulation a benefit or a burden to your business? (% respondents) A burden Neither a benefit, nor a burden Don’t know Figure 1 33 20 44 3
  6. 6. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia Is national data privacy regulation a benefit or a burden to your business? (% respondents) © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 5 data privacy regulation is a benefit while the equivalent number in Hong Kong is less than half of that (22%). In order to delve deeper into data privacy in Asia and what it means for businesses, this summary report uses the survey results to analyse awareness and corporate challenges across the region, with an emphasis on Australia, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore. Figure 2 A benefit A burden Neither a benefit, nor a burden Don’t know Australia Hong Kong India Singapore 44 3 8 1 24 50 49 29 25 10 22 32 22 32 48
  7. 7. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 2 The importance of data privacy In line with global developments, 5 in 10 Asian executives (54%) say data privacy is very important to their organisation today with a further 4 in 10 (38%) saying it is important (Figure 3). Unsurprisingly, the numbers are generally higher in industries that rely on data to a greater extent. Among executives in financial services, for instance, two-thirds (66%) say data privacy is very important today with nearly Figure 3 Very important Figure 4 Australia 6 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 one-half (46%) also claiming it will be a lot more important in the future. Among all Asian executives, one-third (35%) predict that data privacy will be a lot more important to their organisation three years from now while another one-third (37%) say it will be more important. But there are again stark regional differences (Figure 4). More than How important is data privacy to your organisation today? (% respondents) Important Neither important nor unimportant Unimportant 54 38 7 1 Very unimportant 1 Don’t know 0 Where will data privacy be a lot more important (% respondents who say data privacy will be a lot more important in three years) Hong Kong India Singapore 32 19 55 31
  8. 8. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia Don’t know 2 3 DLA Piper: http:// © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 7 half (55%) of all survey respondents from India believe it will be a lot more important, which far outnumbers the figures for more developed countries, such as Australia (32% said the same), Singapore (31%) and in particular Hong Kong (19%). This reflects the general notion that India’s current data privacy laws are weak and will rise in future importance (and that those of Hong Kong are already strong). This is reinforced by other research. DLA Piper, a global law firm which has compared data privacy regulations and enforcement across the world, also says laws are “heavy” in Hong Kong while “limited” in India; in Australia and Singapore they are viewed as “moderate.”3 In Hong Kong, about two-thirds of executives in the survey say current data privacy regulations In your opinion, how would you rate current data privacy regulations in the country where you are located today as it relates to your industry? (% respondents) Current data privacy regulation—or the lack thereof—is very good for our industry Good Neither good nor bad Bad Figure 5 11 42 26 14 Very bad 4 Other, please specify 2 Don’t know 1 Figure 6 In what area(s) can current data privacy regulations in the country where you are located be improved the most as it relates to your industry? Select two. (% respondents) Level of enforcement Scope of data privacy regulations Corporate compliance processes Penalties for data breaches 39 28 27 25 Emerging technologies requiring an update to current policies Consumer rights, such as data portability Roles and responsibilities among government agencies 23 22 20 Other, please specify 1 dlapiperdataprotection. com/#handbook/world-map- section
  9. 9. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia are very good (11%) or good (53%) for their industry.4 In India, meanwhile, barely a quarter of all respondents view data privacy as positive (2% and 22% respectively). India’s regulations were updated in 2011; however, implementation 8 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 is uneven.5 In particular, in order to improve data privacy in India, a majority of executives (55%) call on their country to enhance the level of enforcement. 4 Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data: http://www.pcpd.org. hk/engindex.html 5 Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology: http://deity.gov.in/ content/cyber-laws
  10. 10. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 3 Little faith in regulators Agree Disagree 90 62 33 41 10 38 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 9 Nine in 10 Asian executives (90%) say their own understanding of data privacy regulations has improved in the last three years (Figure 7). An overwhelming majority of respondents also believe their CEO (80%) and senior management (77%) have high levels of awareness regarding national data privacy regulations in the country where they are located. By contrast, not even 6 in 10 (59%) Asian executives believe government regulators in their country have a high level of knowledge about data privacy regulations, which is not only concerning but also surprising as they are in charge of enforcement. In India, the situation is particularly bad—only 38% of executives cite a high level of awareness among regulators. This has practical consequences as the level of enforcement (cited by 29%) is viewed as the biggest area of contention between the public and private sectors in India, followed by roles and responsibilities among government Figure 7 My own understanding of data privacy regulations Data privacy regulations in my country are stricter than those in other Asian countries In my country, data privacy regulations Figure 8 Very high level of awareness 1 2 3 4 Very low level of awareness 5 has improved in the last three years limit corporate opportunities In my country, consumers don’t seem to care about data privacy Your customers Your employees Your senior management Your CEO Your government regulators 11 15 34 40 24 34 38 43 40 35 28 19 29 14 17 5 14 3 29 9 9 3 2 2 3 In your opinion, what is the level of awareness regarding national data privacy regulations in the country where you are located among the following stakeholders? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1=Very high level of awareness and 5=Very low level of awareness. (% respondents) 67 59 Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Select one in each row. (% respondents)
  11. 11. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia In the country in which you are located, what is the biggest issue of contention between government and industry in regards to data privacy? (% respondents) agencies (22%). Conversely, respondents from Australia are the least concerned about the level of enforcement in their country among the four geographies (only 6% raised it as an issue). Existing rules in Australia were updated through the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, which took effect in March 2014 and simplifies regulations through a set of 13 new harmonised privacy principles.6 In response, three-quarters of Australian executives in the survey say data privacy policies for their 10 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 industry are very good (24%) or good (50%) at present. Rather than enforcement, in countries with stricter data policy regulations, such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, the biggest area of contention between the private and public sectors in all three territories (cited by 31%, 31%, and 23% respectively) is the scope of data privacy regulations, which can potentially hinder business opportunities. Figure 9 23 18 14 13 11 9 9 1 3 Scope of data privacy regulations Level of enforcement Corporate compliance processes Roles and responsibilities among government agencies Emerging technologies requiring an update to current policies Consumer rights, such as data portability Penalties for data breaches Don’t know Other, please specify 6 Office of the Australian Information Commissioner: http://www.oaic.gov. au/privacy/privacy-act/ privacy-law-reform
  12. 12. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 4 Barriers to growth © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 11 When asked about the primary business challenges with data privacy regulation in their country, Asian executives highlight the burden of compliance with external authorities (33%) and customer concerns and expectations (30%), the 7 Personal Data Protection Commission: https://www. pdpc.gov.sg/personal-data-protection- act/overview latter of which can be attributed to low levels of knowledge among consumers (Figure 11). In fact, only 11% of executives say their customers have a high level of awareness regarding national data privacy regulations (Figure 8). Few companies Figure 11 What are the primary business challenges with data privacy regulation in the country where you are located? Select two. (% respondents) 33 30 24 24 20 19 16 4 3 13 Burden of compliance with external authorities Customer concerns and expectations Limits data mining on potential customers Limits information sharing with other companies Burden of compliance with internal company policy Lack of internal coordination Limits data mining of current customers Potential penalties for data breach Other, please specify Don’t know Figure 10 Australia Hong Kong India Singapore 38 30 22 43 Where does data privacy regulation limit corporate opportunities? (% of respondents who say it does)
  13. 13. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia see internal compliance (cited by 20%) and limitations to data mining on current and potential customers (16% and 24% respectively) as burdens. An exception is Singapore where 39% of executives say that national policies are a business challenge, affecting their abilities to use data on potential customers. In developing the 2012 Personal Data Protection Act, Singapore referred to good practices elsewhere, including in the EU, and also held three public consultations before the regime went into effect.7 This open process, as implied by the survey results, may have led to stricter regulations surrounding the Act’s three pillars of consent, purpose and reasonableness. Overall, only one-third (33%) of Asian executives agree that data privacy regulations limit corporate opportunities, but the numbers vary greatly according to jurisdiction. For instance, almost twice as many executives in Singapore (43%) believe current policies are a barrier to growth as in India (22%) (Figure 10). It is likely that perceived levels of enforcement within 12 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 countries play a role as companies in a weak environment may take advantage of this at the expense of consumers. In fact, three-quarters (75%) of Indian executives say consumers in their country do not seem to care about data privacy, further encouraging aggressive companies to take risks. More successful Asian businesses are also more likely to view national data privacy regulation as a benefit rather than a burden. Among executives who say they are much stronger than their competitors in terms of profitability, 45% say regulations are a benefit, compared with 33% of all respondents (Figure 12). Strong and transparent regulations level the playing field for companies and those who have greater knowledge can use them to their advantage. For instance, survey respondents who say their organisation is much more profitable than their competitors are also more likely to say that their CEO’s awareness of national data privacy regulation is very high (52% compared to 40% for all respondents). Figure 12 In your opinion, how does your company compare to its closest competitors in the following areas? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1=We are much stronger and 5=We are much weaker. (% respondents) We are much stronger 1 2 3 4 We are much weaker 5 Senior management awareness of data privacy regulations in the country where you are located Your company’s compliance with data privacy regulations in the country where you are located Corporate profitability 21 19 13 42 44 36 31 4 33 3 42 7 1 1 2
  14. 14. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 5 Corporate countermeasures © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 13 To deal with data privacy regulations, a majority of executives (55%) say their organisations have established or enhanced their processes regarding internal company data policies (Figure 13). Fewer (41%) have established or enhanced corporate processes regarding compliance with national data regulations, which is likely to partly explain why Asian executives highlight the burden of compliance with external authorities as their greatest challenge. It is also important to acknowledge that the level of required reporting varies tremendously across industries. For instance, in financial services, which is highly regulated in most countries, more than half of respondents (52%) say they have implemented such processes. Financial services respondents are also more likely to say that corporate compliance policies are the biggest issue of contention between government and industry in regards to data privacy (20% compared with 14% for all respondents). To deal with customer concerns and expectations, the second biggest business challenge, a majority (55%) of Asian executives say their organisation is informing customers of their corporate data policies, although far fewer (29%) are educating them on national data regulations. Again, survey respondents in financial services are ahead of the curve. Two-thirds (66%) of banking executives say their organisations inform their customers about corporate policies and 4 in 10 (40%) inform them of national data regulations. In India, meanwhile, only 41% and 21% respectively provide information on corporate and national data policies. Figure 13 What measures, if any, has your organisation implemented to deal with data privacy regulation in the country where you are located? Select all that apply. (% respondents) 55 55 45 44 41 29 3 2 Established or enhanced corporate processes regarding internal company data policies Informed customers of our corporate data policies Informed business partners of our corporate data policies Designated a person or group to be in charge of data policies and regulations Established or enhanced corporate processes regarding compliance with national data regulations Informed customers of national data regulations Other, please specify Don’t know
  15. 15. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 6 The road ahead The survey of 360 Asian executives conducted for this report finds that there is almost unanimous agreement on the importance of data privacy across the region. But perceptions regarding future importance vary greatly between those who have weaker (India) and stronger (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore) regulations. This is reflected in the level of faith that corporate executives place in awareness among government regulators. In India this figure is particularly low and hence the level of enforcement there is also seen as the biggest area of contention between the public and private sectors. The largest issue in the other jurisdictions is the scope of data privacy regulations, as this can presumably impede potential big data initiatives. Yet only one-third of Asian executives agree that data privacy regulations limit corporate opportunities. In particular, successful businesses are more likely to view national policies as a benefit rather than a burden, likely 14 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 because they have greater knowledge of them and can seize a competitive advantage. There is also a gap between those who have established corporate initiatives regarding compliance with national data regulations, an area led by financial services, and those who have not The tension between corporate opportunities and data privacy is set to increase by any measure. This is a particular problem for companies doing business across borders as regulation varies across jurisdictions. In an Asian context, the perceived differences between policies in places such as India and Hong Kong can therefore have large practical implications for companies doing business in the region. But there is a local aspect to data privacy as well. As enforcement levels rise and consumer awareness increases, companies without proper policies will suffer. As indicated by the survey conducted for this report, it means that companies with greater knowledge of regulations are also able to seize on the data opportunities ahead.
  16. 16. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia Appendix: Survey results Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding or the ability of respondents to choose multiple responses 1. In your opinion, how would you rate current data privacy regulations in the country where you are located today as it relates © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 15 to your industry? (% respondents) Current data privacy regulation—or the lack thereof—is very good for our industry Good Neither good nor bad Bad Very bad Other, please specify Don’t know 11 42 26 14 4 2 1 2. In what area(s) can current data privacy regulations in the country where you are located be improved the most as it relates to your industry? Select two. (% respondents) Level of enforcement Scope of data privacy regulations Corporate compliance processes Penalties for data breaches Emerging technologies requiring an update to current policies Consumer rights, such as data portability Roles and responsibilities among government agencies Don’t know Other, please specify 39 28 27 25 23 22 20 2 1
  17. 17. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 3. In the country in which you are located, is national data privacy regulation a benefit or a burden to your business? (% respondents) A benefit A burden Neither a benefit, nor a burden Don’t know 4. How important is data privacy to your organisation today? (% respondents) 5. How important will data privacy be to your organisation three years from now? (% respondents) 11 15 16 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 33 20 44 3 Very important Important Neither important nor unimportant Unimportant 54 38 7 1 Very unimportant 1 Don’t know 0 A lot more important More important About the same Less important 35 37 28 0 A lot less important 0 Don’t know 0 Very high level of awareness 1 2 3 4 Very low level of awareness 5 Your customers Your employees Your senior management Your CEO Your government regulators 34 40 24 34 38 43 40 35 28 19 29 14 17 5 14 3 29 9 9 3 2 2 3 6. In your opinion, what is the level of awareness regarding national data privacy regulations in the country where you are located among the following stakeholders? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1=Very high level of awareness and 5=Very low level of awareness. (% respondents)
  18. 18. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 7. In our opinion, what are the primary business challenges with data privacy regulation in the country where you are 8. What measures, if any, has your organisation implemented to deal with data privacy regulation in the country where you 9. In the country in which you are located, what is the biggest issue of contention between government and industry in © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 17 located? Select two. (% respondents) Burden of compliance with external authorities Customer concerns and expectations Limits data mining on potential customers Limits information sharing with other companies 33 30 24 24 Burden of compliance with internal company policy 20 Lack of internal coordination 19 Limits data mining of current customers 16 Potential penalties for data breach 13 Other, please specify 4 Don’t know 3 Established or enhanced corporate processes regarding internal company data policies Informed customers of our corporate data policies Informed business partners of our corporate data policies Designated a person or group to be in charge of data policies and regulations 55 55 45 44 Established or enhanced corporate processes regarding compliance with national data regulations 41 Informed customers of national data regulations 29 Other, please specify 3 Don’t know 2 are located? Select all that apply. (% respondents) regards to data privacy? (% respondents) Scope of data privacy regulations Level of enforcement Corporate compliance processes Roles and responsibilities among government agencies 23 18 14 13 Emerging technologies requiring an update to current policies 11 Consumer rights, such as data portability 9 Penalties for data breaches 9 Don’t know 3 Other, please specify 1
  19. 19. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia 18 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 Agree Disagree My own understanding of data privacy regulations has improved in the last three years Data privacy regulations in my country are stricter than those in other Asian countries In my country, data privacy regulations limit corporate opportunities In my country, consumers don’t seem to care about data privacy 90 62 33 41 10 38 67 59 10. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Select one in each row. (% respondents) We are much stronger 1 2 3 4 We are much weaker 5 Senior management awareness of data privacy regulations in the country where you are located Your company’s compliance with data privacy regulations in the country where you are located Corporate profitability 21 19 13 42 44 36 31 4 33 3 42 7 1 1 2 11. In your opinion, how does your company compare to its closest competitors in the following areas? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1=We are much stronger and 5=We are much weaker. (% respondents) $250m or less $250m to $500m $500m to $1bn $1bn to $5bn 36 9 13 14 $5bn to $10bn 8 $10bn or more 21 What are your organisation’s global annual revenues in US dollars? (% respondents) Board member CEO/President/Managing director CFO/Treasurer/Comptroller CIO/Technology director 5 26 6 4 Other C-level executive 6 Head of Business Unit 10 Head of Department 10 Manager 15 SVP/VP/Director 19 Which of the following best describes your title? (% respondents)
  20. 20. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 19 What is your primary industry? (% respondents) Aerospace and defence 1 Agriculture and agribusiness 1 Automotive 2 Chemicals 3 Construction and real estate 2 Education 8 Energy and natural resources 6 Entertainment, media and publishing 3 Financial services 26 Government/Public sector 2 Logistics and distribution 2 Manufacturing Retailing 2 Telecoms 2 Transportation, travel and tourism 2 6 Professional services 14 Healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology 6 IT and technology 11 Consumer goods 2
  21. 21. Finding their way: Corporates, governments and data privacy in Asia What are your main functional roles? Select up to three. (% respondents) Customer service Finance General management Human resources 13 21 20 © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2014 43 5 Information and research 10 Legal 4 Marketing and sales 22 Operations and production 13 Procurement 2 Risk 14 Strategy and business development 39 Other, please specify 3 R&D 5 Supply-chain management 4 IT 12
  22. 22. While every effort has been taken to verify the accuracy of this information, The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this report or any of the information, opinions or conclusions set out in this report. Cover image - ©Thinkstockphotos
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