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Dispatches From Mexico City: Cloud Storage And NAFTA, Trudeau Visits CDMX

Author: Ty Trumbull
Author: Ty Trumbull

My visit back to Canada continues. Today I’m sitting in my parent's’ living room, looking out at the changing leaves and the rolling river just outside the small town of Omemee, Ontario where I grew up. Meanwhile, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has recently wrapped up the latest round of negotiations in the country I currently call home, Mexico.

While there he addressed the Mexican Senate, calling for lawmakers to embrace some of Canada’s more progressive policies - namely, workers’ and women’s rights - in hopes of fending off the growing isolationism that threatens negotiations.

Trudeau's trip to Mexico also involved a wreath-laying ceremony and a trip to a donation center to help out with the earthquake relief effort. The progressive push is being seen by political commentators in Canada as a two-pronged attack. At once, appealing to left-leaning Democrats in the U.S. to help bolster the agreement largely viewed as under attack by the current administration, while also looking to strengthen ties with Mexico as the country’s sitting president nears the end of his term.

While I can’t speak too much to his strategy in the United States, I do welcome any strengthened relations between Canada and Mexico. While the two countries have many differences, I’m often struck by how much they have in common, at least in caring and friendship, if not in culinary or political pursuits. I often wish that there was a way to bring ties between the countries closer together and create a more unified continent.

NAFTA, The Channel and Cloud Storage

Anyway, I digress. But one of the more interesting aspects of the ongoing NAFTA negotiations, at least as it pertains to the Channel, is how it relates to cloud storage. For example, as it stands now some regions like Nova Scotia and British Columbia both have restrictions that require data controlled by a public body to be stored in Canada. Canada’s federal government said in 2016, as part of its Cloud Adoption Strategy, that it plans to keep its data in-country as well as encrypt any data while it's in transit.

In these trade negotiations, though, Washington has made it clear it wants “rules to ensure that NAFTA countries do not impose measures that restrict cross-border data flows and do not require the use or installation of local computing facilities.” The fear is that data stored in the U.S. could come under the jurisdiction of the United States, as such, many Canadian public organizations -- as well as private companies not bound by compliance law -- avoid sending data through the U.S. for privacy reasons.

As Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, tells Global News, the stakes are much higher for Canada. The U.S. has generally been laxer in its approach to data privacy than Canada.

Since well before the Trump administration, the U.S. has had, generally, a looser approach to data privacy than Canada, according to Geist. Data privacy in Canada is well protected while the U.S. has comparatively fewer laws. We’re already seeing an outcry in national Canadian publications over the mere possibility of a change to our privacy laws.

These talks are likely being closely followed by Canadian IT companies, who have traded on Canada’s laws to give them a foot up against stiff competition from companies like Dropbox and Google Drive. In many ways, it’s been Canadian laws that have given them a competitive advantage, casting Canadian data centers as a more secure place to keep important information. At any rate, it will be interesting to see how these talks develop in the months to come. No matter what country you’re watching from.

Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.