William & Mary Business Law Review


Victoria Conrad


Data is everywhere. With more than ten billion Internetenabled devices worldwide, each day individuals create a flood of information that is transferred onto the Internet as big data. Businesses that have the resources to capture and utilize data can better understand their consumers, allowing for reinforcement of customer relationship management, improvements to the management of operational risk, and enhancement of overall firm performance. However, big data’s advantages come with high costs. The cost of organization and storage coupled with the fact that no legal principle allows for any sort of property rights in big data creates a “digital divide” between data giants, like Facebook and Google, and smaller businesses. What’s more, because each country sets different cybersecurity standards, start-up costs and expenses are cutting many businesses out of the digital market. This Note will first discuss the basics of big data and then argue that policymakers need to promote the free trade of data as a commodity with independent property rights. This Note will then discuss the obstacles to the free trade of data regarding privacy rights and the diversity of international cybersecurity regulations. Finally, this Note will propose the need for a multilateral convention on cybersecurity that will promote a centralized regulatory approach.