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Iceland helps keep data free and safe

Island nation emerges as legal data haven

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One of the consequences surrounding the most recent release by Wikileaks of documents relating to America's war in Iraq is a renewed interest in the safe and secure hosting of contentious data. The prospect of hosting secret or questionably legal data within the United States has become increasingly less appealing, due mostly to expanded wiretap authority by the federal government.

Of course, "grey market" secure and anonymous hosting has existed for nearly as long as the web, but for potential whistleblowers and established organisations like Wikileaks, Iceland's announcement is sure to be welcome news.

Unlike grey market hosting, Iceland's attempt at establishing a datahaven will be completely legal. Backed up by legislation created to ensure total privacy and freedom of speech, Iceland intends to defend data privacy even in the face of potential lawsuits from foreign governments and multinational corporations.

You may recognise the parallels between Iceland's announcement regarding data security and the plot of the 1999 Neal Stephenson novel "Cryptonomicon", which chronicles a fictional attempt to create a datahaven in the Philippines to subvert fascist regimes. Iceland's intent may not be as high-minded, since it's intended mostly as an economic incentive for a nation hard hit by the global banking crisis, but it will surely be embraced by geeks and privacy advocates the world over.


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