Data Nationalism

63 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 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: March 13, 2015


A BRICS Internet, the Euro Cloud, the Iranian “Halal” 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. Russia requires personal information to be stored domestically. Vietnam insists on a local copy of all Vietnamese data. The last century’s nontariff barriers to goods have reappeared as firewalls blocking international services. Legitimate global anxieties over surveillance and security are justifying governmental measures that break apart the World Wide Web, without enhancing either privacy or security.

The issue is critical to the future of international trade and development, and even to the ongoing struggle between democracy and totalitarianism. Data localization threatens the possibility of outsourcing services, whether to Bangalore, Accra, Manila, or even Silicon Valley. The theory of this Article expands the conversation about international Internet regulation from efforts to prevent data from flowing in to a country through censorship, to include efforts to prevent data from flowing out through data localization. A simple formula helps demonstrate what is stake: censorship data localization = total control.

Suggested Citation

Chander, Anupam and Le, Uyen P., Data Nationalism (March 13, 2015). Emory Law Journal, Vol. 64, No. 3, 2015, 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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