Dark Clouds Over the Internet

The Internet is routinely described as borderless, and that is often how it feels. Tweet a photo or post a comment, and it is instantly viewable in nearly every country in the world. But a global Internet unbounded by territorial limits is pure fantasy.Down where the cables lie and the servers spin, territory still matters.Take user data. While 90 percent of the Internet’s users are outside the United States, the web is dominated by American firms. As a result, a great deal of non-American data is held on American servers. This was tolerable when trust in the United States was high. But after Edward J. Snowden peeled back the curtain on the National Security Agency’s Internet surveillance efforts, that trust withered.

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