The Infrastructures of the Global Data Economy: Undersea Cables and International Law
61 Harvard International Law Journal Frontiers, 2020
9 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020
Date Written: April 2020
This short article foregrounds the material infrastructure underlying the global data economy to highlight its entanglement with technological, legal, and social orders. It traces how cables helped shape political thought in the nineteenth century and were in turn shaped by imperial dynamics. Then it discusses the material turn in international law and how it provides ways for reimagining international law’s effects on everyday life. Finally, it discusses how cables have become sites where power and contestation play out, the relationship of international law to undersea cables, and how they have mutually shaped each other. It ends with some thoughts on denaturalizing the relationship between undersea cables, international law, and the global data economy.
Keywords: International Law, Undersea Cables, Global Data Economy, Science and Technology Studies, Materiality
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