Given these economic hardships, critics opined that the provincial
restrictions were an overreaction to the PATRIOT Act.174 After all, most
countries do allow for access to data in the context of law enforcement and
national security, and several legal observers believed the threat of the
PATRIOT Act was minimal to Canadian data housed in the United States.175
But even if the actual risks of seizure under the PATRIOT Act are minimal,
Canadians’ perception of the law’s risk became a barrier to data exchange
because of the differences between how Canadians believed their data would
be treated if held in the United States.176 This trend shows that trust is a key
component in ensuring that data can flow freely between countries.177
IV. RCC AS A PATHWAY FORWARD: REGULATORY HARMONIZATION
As data exchange becomes more critical to managing countries’ public
health and economies, identifying early any political and legal “flash
points”178 like the PATRIOT Act will also become increasingly important.
Resolving these domestic issues in the context of trade negotiations or global
diplomacy is unlikely, but such discussions may help ease tensions, restore
trust, and find possible solutions.179
Looking at the Canadian-American relationship also is useful because our
countries have a formal process for regulatory harmonization.180 The
Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC)181 offers a way for government
174. See Banks, supra note 167, at 22 (noting that since 1990, Canada and the United
States have “agreed to assist the other with the investigation, including seizure of records, of
criminal activity”); see J.V.J. van Hoboken, A.M. Arnbak & N. A.N.M. van Eijk, Cloud
Computing in Higher Education and Research Institutions and the USA Patriot Act, INST.
INFO. LAW, UNIV. OF AMSTERDAM (Nov. 2012).
175. CATE, supra note 166, at 23.
176. Id. at 3, 23.
177. See supra Part III.
178. See infra note 182.
179. See generally Birgit Matthiesen, Trust, In So Many Words, 37 CAN.-U.S. L.J. 365
180. Christopher Sands, Restoring Respect for the Law in Canada-U.S. Commerce: The
Regulatory Cooperation Council So Far, 37 CAN.-U.S. L.J. 319, 326 (2012).
181. Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, Exec. Order No. 13609, 77 Fed.
Reg. 87 (May 1, 2012). Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States. Web. 4 May
2012. With the transition from an Obama administration to President-elect Donald Trump, it
remains to be seen how US-Canadian relationships will change, but several pundits believe
that strong trade relations will continue between the two countries. Compare David Burke,
Donald Trump presidency may not endanger Canada-U.S. free trade, CBC NEWS (Nov.
9, 2016), http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/trump-election-trade-nafta-1.3843128
(posting an interview with a Canadian scholar who notes that much of the trade between the
two countries is “locked in through World Trade Organization rules”) with Laura Dawson,
What Trump Means for Canadian Prosperity, WILSON CTR. CANADA INST. (Nov. 9, 2016),
https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/what-trump-means-for-canadian-prosperity (“Canada is
in a better position than other countries. While Trump has threatened to build a wall against