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The Internet, leaks and opportunities

15 November 2013


The Internet like any other pipeline infrastructure is prone to occasional leaks and the World Wide Web is no exception. In the past several months we have had a daily media diet telling us about security leaks and how alleged espionage is being conducted on the Internet on an industrial scale.


This in turn has triggered intense debate across the world. The debate focus is on the protection, on the one hand, of global Intelligence agencies’ capability to counter terror versus the rights to protection of data owned by the private citizen.

A time of change

Regardless of where one stands in this debate it is clear the Internet is about to undergo significant change. The reason for this anticipated change can only be the all-pervasive anxiety and fear of potential data loss felt by us all whether private, corporate or sovereign users of the internet.

Ring fencing for security?

The Internet is the world’s most open platform for communications and as such is a key driver for global economic expansion and growth representing 20% of GDP for major economies since 2008.

Such a force for economic good should surely be protected and allowed to flourish. However some argue this potential is being severely threatened. Such is the fear of potential data loss that many countries have individually responded assertively, for example, according to the Financial Times, the EU Commission has suggested development of its own EU data cloud with many other countries considering similar measures. All of this suggests a future trend of possible Internet fragmentation. Alternatively the status quo can be maintained if mutual assurances are given that undermining of internet security will stop. In the absence of such an undertaking it is more likely the internet as we know it will evolve into a patchwork of individual ring fenced networks, all independently controlled.

Isle of Man as a premier security jurisdiction

For the Isle of Man this may actually represent a significant opportunity. Why? Because the Island’s key growth sector for the next 5 years is e-Business which has, at its heart, a requirement not only for massive hosting, connectivity and bandwidth capacity but also for full and adequate data protection.

Data protection continues to be an absolute priority for the Isle of Man and is a constant area of focus and improvement to ensure highest standards. The island has had data protection legislation since 1986, which was replaced by the Data Protection Act 2002.

Those data protection laws are essential to the growth of e-Business because consumer confidence is reliant on those laws, particularly in the area of confidentiality and security.

When you couple together the high quality of the Isle of Man’s Data Protection regulatory offering with world class telecoms interconnectivity it appears the Island may have within its grasp the opportunity to position itself as the international community’s preferred location of choice for cyber security.

The extent to which the Island can continue to grow as a fortress at the premium end of cyber security will depend largely on how the data concerns rumble on. Watch this space.

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