Last October, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) abandoned its long-standing demand for World Trade Organization provisions to protect cross-border data flows, prevent forced data localization, safeguard source codes and prohibit countries from discriminating against digital products based on nationality.

It was a shocking shift, one that jeopardizes the very survival of the open internet, with all the knowledge sharing, global collaboration and cross-border commerce that it enables.

The USTR says that the change was necessary because of a mistaken belief that trade provisions could hinder the ability of the U.S. Congress to respond to calls for regulation of Big Tech firms and artificial intelligence.