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The StackOn Software and Sovereignty$
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Benjamin H. Bratton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029575

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029575.001.0001

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Cloud Layer

Cloud Layer

(p.109) Cloud Layer
The Stack

Benjamin H. Bratton

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the second of six layers in The Stack, the Cloud layer. The “Cloud” refers to Cloud computing generally and includes global networks of datacenters, information channels and routers, and services that constitute various global Cloud platforms. Each platform suggests a particular model of Cloud Polis, the quasi-sovereign polity that takes on traditional State functions but operates transnationally. This chapter includes discussions of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon platforms. It argues that conflicts ensue between State and Cloud platforms, such as between China and Google, over where and how sovereignty is guaranteed. Different political geographies are superimposed one on top of the other, and their logics of platform sovereignty do not blend into a single master architecture. Rather, this layering of incommensurate geographies defines our contemporary geopolitical architecture.

Keywords:   Cloud Computing, Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Platforms, Cyberinfrastructure, Chinese Internet

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