Telefónica has had an active role in Futurecom, the most important technological event in the region this year, held just a few weeks ago in Sao Paulo (Brazil). Carlos López Blanco, Global Head of Public and Regulatory Affairs at Telefónica, participated at the round table tackling the idea of the new digital economy while Enrique Medina, Chief Policy Officer at Telefónica, offered his vision of privacy and data protection on a different panel.
At the round table, “Public Policies and Business Actions for the Development of the Digital Ecosystem in Ibero-America”, Carlos López Blanco offered his view from a private perspective as an addition to the public vision of Maximiliano Martinhao, Secretary of Informatics Policy for the Brazil Government, who also participated in the round table.
The executive stated that “The changes brought about by digitization will provide new opportunities for economic growth and social welfare, as well as substantial improvements in the competitiveness of businesses and industries”.
According to the study by Raúl Katz: In total, digitalisation contributed 4.3% of the Latin American GDP between 2005 and 2013 and may entail an annual increase in GDP per capita of between 0.3% and 0.8%.
The challenges of digitalisation
Digitalisation also entails some challenges that have increased in the region. The first it presents is the fact that the region is only a consumer in the digital world and its prominence in the offering of digital content and services is still greatly restricted to very limited fields of economic activity. The second challenge has to do with the unequal distribution of wealth generated in the digital environment. The poor adaptation of legal systems and of dominant economic policies to influence agents that, though they sell digital goods and services in Latin American countries, typically establish their centres of operations and platforms outside the countries in said region. This means that the contribution (via taxes, investment or employment) of the various agents in the digital economy is highly disparate, requiring the need for greater coordination between public and private agents at both the local and international level in order to acquire the benefits of the digital revolution, which can be summarised as supporting enabling polices that digitise government, public administration, companies and digital education. These and disruptive policies that guarantee a fiscal and taxation policy that benefits growth, policies for digital access and consumer protection, and regulatory policies, adapting the framework that guarantees a competitive environment with equal conditions for all participants.
Carlos López Blanco, Global Head of Public and Regulatory Affairs at Telefónica
“Today, the main bottleneck for the development of the digital economy is not the region’s telecommunications infrastructure, which is comparable to that of other more advanced countries, but the lack of relevant local content, digital literacy, and a context that favours investment” commented Carlos.
The cards needed to achieve an advanced, avant-garde digital economy are already being dealt, and the region must take advantage of the development of telecommunications to achieve a developed digital economy that provides growth.
Privacy and Data Protection
The second round table, “Privacy and Data Protection”, focused on the importance of data to the current digital world, and the need to guarantee data protection and consumer rights. Enrique Medina presented the current premise that “being constantly connected” provides an massive source of data that increases with every passing day, and that every 18 months more data is generated that in the entire history of human kind. Technology now makes it possible for data to not just be stored, but to also be processed immediately with Big Data systems, thus creating the data that many people now call “the new oil”.
Nevertheless, data processing has many more implications: regarding fundamental rights, about digital trust, the competition or concerning ethical issues.
“Both the public and the private sector must be committed to building a new Data Ethics, which represents a challenge at the regulatory and business levels” said Enrique.
Enrique Medina, Chief Policy Officer at Telefónica
Rules of use for data in the XXI century are vital, and in the digital era, the role of legislators is fundamental. Digital trust has become a key issue, and Telefónica believes there are three fundamental issues that must be taken into account which help to establish said rules: the principles that strengthen the fundamental rights of citizens and their trust in the digital era; raising awareness of the benefits of personal data and risks; and the legal security and necessary practices and uniform and equitable data protection that enables a neutral, cost-efficient application.
Next year, in May 2018, the new European law for data protection (GDPR) will become effective, which represents the regulation of personal data privacy, alignment among the 28 countries of the EU, and the application of new rights and obligations, not only for European consumers, but for companies as well.
Telefónica is one of the companies that has contributed the most suggestions regarding the GDPR, and we are proud that it is considered an advanced legal framework for the protection of consumer rights and privacy at a global level.