Data haven

From Academic Kids

A data haven is a computer or a network that holds data protected by both technical means (encryption) and location in a country that has either no laws, or poorly-enforced laws against the most common uses of data havens and no extradition treaties.


Origin of the term

This term was coined by Bruce Sterling in his 1989 novel Islands in the Net. The "modern-day" segments of Neal Stephenson's 1999 novel Cryptonomicon concern a small group of entrepreneurs attempting to create a data haven.

Purposes of data havens

While it has been claimed by some advocates of data havens that they should not be used to facilitate spam, terrorism or child pornography, others seek data havens for these very purposes.

Among the more noble reasons for establishing data havens is access to free (political) speech for users in countries where censorship of the Internet is practiced. These countries include People's Republic of China, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.

Other reasons include:

Two models

HavenCo (centralized) and Freenet (decentralized) are two models of modern-day data havens, although the former appears to have been created in a fantasy out of a tidal wave of worldwide publicity.

Rough Tower

Rough Tower is not what it appeared to be when it was first announced to the world media. It is a former WWII Royal Navy pontoon known as HM Fort Roughs which is partially submerged on a sandbank approximately six miles off the coast of southeast England. It was renamed Principality of Sealand by squatters who have occupied the craft for many years. One of the former associates of HavenCo, Ryan Lackey, now disavows the effort [1] ( and claims that a 1990 court case involving the alleged registration of a pirate radio ship was kept from him. The U.S. Administrative Court which heard the case with cooperation from the UK, ruled in 1990 and later reaffirmed in 1991, that no such sovereign entity exists and that Rough Sands is subject to all British laws. A myth had been created that Rough Tower was originally built on Rough Sands, instead of being a Royal Navy craft which had been towed to its location. Today the submerged vessel remains marked by buoys paid for by UK taxpayers placed in position on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence. The land under Rough Tower is claimed by UK Crown Estate, Marine Estates, Coastal Section, who regard the UK Ministry of Defence as the tenant. The Ministry of Defence have not bothered to remove the squatters because they have no use at this time for the pontoon and superstructure. HavenCo was initially registered in the UK as a British company before it was itself relocated to Cyprus and all mail to Rough Tower is delivered to a British Post Office in Felixstowe, Suffolk for pick-up.

See also


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