Release of new Report “We Need to Talk About Data”

Published on
March 31, 2021

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the Secretariat of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network released a new Report  “We Need to Talk About Data: Framing the Debate Around the Free Flow of Data and Data Sovereignty”.



The Report presents concerns and perspectives around the current use of the concepts “Free Flow of Data” and “Data Sovereignty” and offers key recommendations on how to move forward to foster a collaborative discussion on how to organize our common datasphere.

Executive Summary






Press Release



The Report launched on the occasion of the World Economic Forum Global Technology Governance Summit was presented during a Virtual Conference on Governance Innovation for Cross-border Data Flows, organized by the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network and the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry of Japan. Read more about the launch event here.

The Report is co-authored by the Secretariat of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network: Bertrand de La Chapelle, Executive Director, and Lorrayne Porciuncula, Director of the Data & Jurisdiction Program. To develop the Report, I&JPN consulted actors from governments, the private sector, civil society, technical community international organizations, and academia in a survey of over 100 respondents, 4 roundtable discussions, and over 30 interviews. See who contributed here.


The Report presents three key findings for moving forward.

  • First, we need a debate that is global, multi-stakeholder, across sectors 
  • Second, the discussion needs to be reframed to ensure that this complex and novel issue is addressed in a much more nuanced manner
  • Third, the Report highlights the need to be innovative in the tools, frameworks and concepts we use to address the issue of data

The I&JPN Secretariat made a deliberate effort to capture diverse views and perspectives and will organize, on the basis of this initial framing, further consultations across sectors and regions to expand awareness and understanding of these evolving concepts and their policy implications.

If you are interested in learning more about I&JPN future work on data please write to

To unpack the key messages and explore the next steps I&JPN spoke to the Report’s contributors to ask how I&JPN can foster a collaborative discussion on how to organize our common Datasphere.

What people have said about the report

The Report is made possible by the support of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.