Jennifer Holt examines the legal and cultural crises surrounding the regulation of data in “the cloud.” The complex landscape of laws and policies governing digital data are currently rife with unresolvable conflicts. The challenges of distributing and protecting digital data in a policy landscape that is simultaneously local, national, and global have created problems that often defy legal paradigms, national boundaries, and traditional geographies of control. She examines these challenges with an eye towards their shared histories with obscene phone calls, wiretapping organized crime figures, the PATRIOT Act, Facebook, and the battles over net neutrality. Ultimately, these intertwined histories of policies related to privacy, data security, and digital freedoms become most instructive when they are brought to bear on the current regulatory crisis, revealing the growing stakes for the digital futures of culture, information, and citizenship.
Jennifer Holt is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Empires of Entertainment and co-editor of Distribution Revolution; Connected Viewing; and Media Industries: History, Theory, Method. She is currently writing a monograph about the history of US digital media policies. She is also a co-founder of the Media Industries journal.