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A Prehistory of the Cloud$
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Tung-Hui Hu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029513

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029513.001.0001

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Data Centers and Data Bunkers

Data Centers and Data Bunkers

(p.79) 3 Data Centers and Data Bunkers
A Prehistory of the Cloud

Tung-Hui Hu

The MIT Press

This chapter traces the cloud of digital data back to the data centers that store them. For security reasons, a number of data centers are repurposed Cold War military bunkers, suggesting that a military rationale for a bunker, to defend an area of territory, has re-entered the realm of data. By dividing networks into logical zones of inside and outside, these security infrastructures raise the specter of attack from those that might be ‘outside’ to network society, such as Chinese hackers or Iranian cyberwarfare specialists. By revisiting Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology, this chapter further suggests that the specter of a disaster that the cloud continually raises also carries within it a temporality of a user’s imagined death. This temporality animates a recent series of digital preservation projects, such as the ‘Digital Genome’ time capsule, intended to survive the “death of the digital.”

Keywords:   data center, bunker, melancholy, Internet freedom, digital preservation, archive, cybersecurity, kill switch

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