Digital Trust Issue Brief: International Rulemaking for Tech

Are the recently adopted (or still negotiated) international rules regulating the development, (crossborder) sales, marketing, and use of software in the best interest of technologists and the tech industry? In this issue brief, C4DT Digital Trust Policy Fellow Leonila Guglya critically examines international digital product regulations that are of key relevance to the ICT community, such as mandatory disclosure of source code (including algorithms), use of cryptography, cybersecurity standards, and nondiscrimination rules.

Taking a deep dive into digital (trade) rulemaking in several international forums, the issue brief revealts that in the four examined issue areas the elaboration of rules is neither sufficiently inclusive nor transparent.  Importantly, while some rules may promote digital agenda goals, others, due to their broad language and specific aims, could create challenges, such as loopholes in software security and potential trade-offs between security and efficiency. The issue brief also highlights that the rules may be too general and detached from technical considerations (they often overlook current industry trends or embed outdated, difficult, or non-implementable solutions).

It is important, the issue brief concludes, that policymakers, lawmakers, and technologists collaborate to overhaul global digital regulations. Technologists, as key users of the framework, should demand transparency in negotiations from governments and actively participate in developing rules by clarifying the technological aspects for the public sector.

For a full read, download the issue brief here.