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Implications of post-Snowden Internet Localization Proposals

by Prasad Krishna last modified Oct 05, 2014 08:59 AM
Sunil Abraham was a speaker in this workshop organized by Center for Democracy and Technology on September 2, 2014.

Following the 2013-2014 disclosures of large-scale pervasive surveillance of Internet traffic, various proposals to "localize" Internet users' data and change the path that Internet traffic would take have started to emerge.

Examples include mandatory storage of citizens' data within country, mandatory location of servers within country (e.g. Google, Facebook), launching state-run services (e.g. email services), restricted transborder Internet traffic routes, investment in alternate backbone infrastructure (e.g. submarine cables, IXPs), etc.

Localization of data and traffic routing strategies can be powerful tools for improving Internet experience for end-users, especially when done in response to Internet development needs. On the other hand, done uniquely in response to external factors (e.g. foreign surveillance), less optimal choices may be made in reactive moves.

How can we judge between Internet-useful versus Internet-harmful localisation and traffic routing approaches? What are the promises of data localization from the personal, community and business perspectives? What are the potential drawbacks? What are implications for innovation, user choice and the availability of online services in the global economy? What impact might they have on a global and interoperable Internet? What impact (if any) might these proposals have on user trust and expectations of privacy?

The objective of the session is to gather diverse perspectives and experiences to better understand the technical, social and economic implications of these proposals.

For full details see the IGF website.