New North American Trade Agreement Establishes Rules on Privacy, Cyber and Liability of Internet Service Providors

The United States, Mexico and Canada announced a new multinational trade agreement, known as the “USMCA”, replacing the 1990s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The USMCA is expected to be signed and come into force in the coming months. It includes an extensive chapter on e-commerce, privacy and cyber, and limitation of liability of internet service providers. Among other things, the agreement requires each of the three countries -   

  • To avoid imposing tariffs on interstate commerce of digital products;
  • To enable the use of electronic signatures; 
  • To adopt or maintain a legal framework to protect personal information of users of digital trade, applying, inter alia, the principles of limitation on collection of information, choice, data quality, purpose specification, use limitation, security safeguards, transparency, individual participation, and accountability; 
  • To strengthen the cooperation in defense against cyber attacks;
  • Grant broad immunity to web platforms from legal liability arising from users' content. Echoing the 1996 US Communications Decency Act, Interactive computer services will not be treated as the publishers of content originating from users (however the immunity does not cover Intellectual Property issues). Such service providers may not be required to filter content originating from users. 

CLICK HERE to read chapter 19 of United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMDA)