'Secure, anonymous, unregulated': 'Cryptonomicon' and the transnational data haven

Leonard, P ORCID: 0000-0003-4809-1944, 2007. 'Secure, anonymous, unregulated': 'Cryptonomicon' and the transnational data haven. Humanities and Technology Review, 26, pp. 65-86. ISSN 1076-7908

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Abstract

This essay considers how Neal Stephenson’s 1999 epic novel Cryptonomicon engages with the long-standing and complex relationship between cryptology and national/transnational identity. Cryptonomicon's layered and disjointed structure allows it to explore the impact of cryptography and cryptanalysis in the Second World War (as well as their impact on the consequent rewriting of the international political stage), to reflect on the place of technology in the recent history of cryptology, and to consider how emergent (and supposedly secure) data storage technologies not only open up planetary-wide communication traffic but also unsettle the agreed protocols of national and international law. Stephenson provides a sense of technology's global effects by offering not a straightforward narrative of the demise of the nation-state but by showing how technologies are in a process of constant negotiation with the institutions of the nation-state, drawing upon the economic, material, and intellectual resources of the nation state, while at the same time challenging notions of a bordered and coherent national identity and working to disestablish nations of their regulatory authority. The essay is informed by recent work on cryptology, data havens, globalization, transnationalism, and postcoloniality, as well as Derrida's work on archives and technology.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Humanities and Technology Review
Creators: Leonard, P.
Publisher: Humanities & Technology Association
Date: 2007
Volume: 26
ISSN: 1076-7908
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:54
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:13
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4632

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