Where is the cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing

Paul T. Jaeger, Jimmy Lin, Justin M. Grimes, Shannon N. Simmons


Cloud computing – the creation of large data centers that can be dynamically provisioned, configured, and reconfigured to deliver services in a scalable manner – places enormous capacity and power in the hands of users. As an emerging new technology, however, cloud computing also raises significant questions about resources, economics, the environment, and the law. Many of these questions relate to geographical considerations related to the data centers that underlie the clouds: physical location, available resources, and jurisdiction. While the metaphor of the cloud evokes images of dispersion, cloud computing actually represents centralization of information and computing resources in data centers, raising the specter of the potential for corporate or government control over information if there is insufficient consideration of these geographical issues, especially jurisdiction. This paper explores the interrelationships between the geography of cloud computing, its users, its providers, and governments.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v14i5.2456

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