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

  • Paul T. Jaeger University of Maryland
  • Jimmy Lin University of Maryland
  • Justin M. Grimes University of Maryland
  • Shannon N. Simmons University of Maryland

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Paul T. Jaeger, University of Maryland
Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and Director of the Center for Information Policy and Electronic Government at the University of Maryland
Jimmy Lin, University of Maryland
Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies
Justin M. Grimes, University of Maryland
Doctoral student in the College of Information Studies and Research Associate of the Center for Information Policy and Electronic Government
Shannon N. Simmons, University of Maryland
Doctoral student in the College of Information Studies and Research Associate of the Center for Information Policy and Electronic Government
Published
2009-04-08
How to Cite
Jaeger, P. T., Lin, J., Grimes, J. M., & Simmons, S. N. (2009). Where is the cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing. First Monday, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v14i5.2456
Section
Articles