USMCA more like NAFTA 0.7 due to intellectual property concessions: Former RIM co-CEO
The former chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion is warning big U.S. tech companies like Google shouldn’t be given carte blanche in Canada amid a new trilateral trade deal that saw Canada make concessions on data and intellectual property.
“If you’re going to invite them in, set very, very clear parameters of how you generate and control [intellectual property] right up front — and how you’re going to manage the data right up front, so that you generate intangible assets for the benefit of the Canadian economy and Canadian citizens,” Jim Balsillie told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday, when asked about concerns regarding smart city projects like Sidewalk Labs in Toronto.
“If you don’t do that upfront, it will naturally and every day exfiltrate back to the corporate headquarters because that’s what they do – they’re an IP and data company.”
Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google’s parent Alphabet that’s planning to build a digital city along Toronto’s eastern waterfront, acknowledged the concerns around data protection. But he also noted the company’s ongoing commitment to conduct extensive consultations around privacy.
“We have never denied the fact that the answers to questions about data and privacy are foundational to this project,” he told BNN Bloomberg Thursday. “We have to win people’s trust.”
“So to criticize before people actually have a sense of what we’re going to do, is at least a little bit surprising to me,” he added.
Doctoroff said Sidewalk Labs will likely put forth a proposal for data and privacy in the next month or so.
“We’re going to surprise a lot of people,” he said. “All we’re asking is just a little bit of patience, these are complicated issues.”
Balsillie said his concerns around data protection and IP were not alleviated when the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was reached last week. The agreement extends protection of copyrighted works and prevents Ottawa’s ability to stop the flow of Canadian data moving back into the U.S. by banning data localization policies – provisions Balsillie sees as concerning for Canada’s innovation economy.
“The very dangerous part about that is Canadians don’t get national treatment in the U.S. for privacy and security of this – and plus it allows the big to get bigger,” he said.
“So I’m very concerned about the trade agreement provisions for innovation.”