Data Localization and the Role of Infrastructure for Surveillance, Privacy, and Security
Due to the increased awareness of the politics embedded in Internet technologies, there has been a growing tendency for state and nonstate actors around the world to leverage Internet infrastructure configurations to attain various political and economic objectives. Governments push for infrastructure modifications in pursuit of economic development, data privacy and security, and law enforcement and surveillance effectiveness. Information intermediaries set and enact their infrastructure to maximize revenue by enabling data collection and analytics, but have the capacity to implement tools for protecting privacy and limiting government surveillance. Relying on a conceptual framework of the politics of infrastructure, this article explores tensions and competing interests that emerge around intermediaries’ technical and policy infrastructure through analysis of (a) data localization strategies in a number of countries and (b) privacy and security undertakings by information intermediaries.