Digital regulation contested: the regulatory approaches of the US, the EU, and China to govern cross-border personal data transfers

Image of networked map of the world by Pete Linforth from

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 17 November 2022


online via Zoom only


Raymond Yang Gao

As data is acclaimed as the new oil in the digital era, the regulatory battles among great powers over international personal data transfers increasingly intensify. Focused on the cases of the US, the EU, and China (the “Big Three”), this research explores the development of three different approaches to regulate cross-border transfers of personal data.

First, it identifies three major conceptualizations of personal data adopted by the Big Three regarding cross-border data transfers, and discusses the implications for the design of the emerging legal system governing the issue-area. Importantly, these different conceptualizations highlight different attributes of personal data, identify divergent dominant interests at stake, and point at distinct normative goals for regulatory interventions.

Second, drawing on international relation scholarship on regime complex analysis, this research explores three lawmaking processes that result in different regulatory approaches to govern cross-border personal data flows. It argues that the emerging transnational legal regime governing this issue-area can be framed as a transnational regime complex, whereby different major powers have been competing to shape the rulemaking at their preferred terms. Through the lawmaking strategies of regime- and forum shifting, the Big Three have been advancing different regulatory rules that align with their own policy preferences, vying to dominate the rulemaking on this cross-cutting issue-area.

This seminar is Raymond’s final presentation of his doctoral candidature.

About the Speaker

Raymond Yang Gao is a PHD scholar at RegNet. Raymond’s research project explores transnational regulation of cross-border personal data transfers (from the perspectives of international trade, data privacy, and national security), focused on the cases of the US, the EU, and China. His recent research papers have been published at law review journals of Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, Asian Journal of WTO & International Heath Law and Policy, among others.

This seminar presentation will be online-only for external audiences.

ANU staff and students can attend in-person in the RegNet Level 2 Teaching Room, Room 2.10, 8 Fellows Rd (maximum capacity of 12 persons only).

COVID protocols

The ANU strongly encourages you to keep a mask with you at all times (for use when COVID-19 safe behaviours are not practicable) and to be respectful of colleagues, students and visitors who may wish to continue to wear one. Please continue to practice good hygiene. If you are unwell, please stay home. The ANU’s COVID Safety advice can be accessed here.

Image credit: Image of networked map of the world by Pete Linforth from Pixabay.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet