Breaking the Web: Data Localization vs. the Global Internet

53 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2014 Last revised: 5 Jul 2015

See all articles by Anupam Chander

Anupam Chander

Georgetown University Law Center

Uyen P. Le

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: April 2014


A BRICS Internet, the Euro Cloud, the Iranian Internet. Governments across the world eager to increase control over the World Wide Web are tearing it apart. Iran seeks to develop an Internet free of Western influences or domestic dissent. The Australian government places restrictions on health data leaving the country. South Korea requires mapping data to be stored domestically. Vietnam insists on a local copy of all Vietnamese data. The nations of the world are erecting Schengen zones for data, undermining the possibility of global services. The last century’s non-tariff barriers to goods have reappeared as firewalls blocking international data flows.

Data localization requirements threaten the major new advances in information technology — not only cloud computing, but also the promise of big data and the Internet of Things. Equally important, data localization requirements undermine social, economic and civil rights by eroding the ability of consumers and businesses to benefit from access to both knowledge and international markets and by giving governments greater control over local information. Legitimate global anxieties over surveillance and security are justifying governmental measures that break apart the World Wide Web, without enhancing either privacy or security.

Keywords: data localization, privacy, security, surveillance, Internet governance, cross-border data flow, globalization, freedom of expression, trade

Suggested Citation

Chander, Anupam and Le, Uyen P., Breaking the Web: Data Localization vs. the Global Internet (April 2014). Emory Law Journal, Forthcoming, UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 378, Available at SSRN:

Anupam Chander (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

Washington, DC


Uyen P. Le

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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