Data Haven; Web Bug

Gareth Branwyn garethb2 at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Jun 23 01:49:21 UTC 2000

I believe the term "data haven" was coined by cyberpunk sci-fi author Bruce
Sterling in his 1989 book _Islands in the Net_. This very prescient (but
rather clumsily-written) book foresaw that the "Internet reads censorship as
damage and routes around it" (to steal a phrase from cryptographer John
Gilmore). I.e., if a country outlaws some form of activity on the Net, that
activity will simply move offshore.

When I was researching a piece for the Industry Standard on the online porn
biz, one porn provider told me that if the Communications Decency Act had
been withheld, he and many other providers already had servers outside the
U.S., ready to go. "With the touch of a button," he told me, "all of our
operations would have move offshore."

> From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 20:46:58 -0400
> Subject: Data Haven; Web Bug
> "Haven.  I'm in haven."
> --Fred Astaire (sort of)
> A tiny platform off the coast of England is the "Principality of Sealand."  On
> June 5, 2000, Sealand and Havenco Ltd. announced the "world's first real data
> haven."
> There are 39 hits for this story, all after June 5, 2000.  Dow Jones had 420
> hits for "data haven," but "data haven't" accounts for a lot of the hits.
> From the GLOBE AND MAIL, 4 July 1981, pg. B18:
> Use of a negative sales tax could create a "data haven" for hundreds of
> foreign multi-nationals, with the accompanying increase in the number of
> Canadian jobs.
> Maybe we can write to "Sealanders" and ask how they pronounce "data."
> --------------------------------------------------------
> Another "bug" hit, FWIW.
> Today's (6-22-2000) WALL STREET JOURNAL has "Clinton Tells Drug Office to Stop
> Using 'Web Bug'" on pg. B13, col. 2:
> The White House ordered its Office of National Drug Control Policy to stop
> using a secretive technique that could track and identify visitors to its
> antidrug Internet site for children. (...) A spokesman for the drug policy
> office, Donald Maple, acknowledged use of the technology, known as a "web
> bug," but said no personal information was collected about visitors.
> (Col.3--ed.) When people visited the site,, their browser
> software loaded without warning an invisible image retrieved from Doubleclick
> computers.  This process (Col.4--ed.) was recorded by Doubleclick and
> permitted the company to implant a small data file called a "cookie" to
> identify each visitor, or it allowed Doubleclick to read an identifier that it
> had placed previously with visitors to the drug site or elsewhere.

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