Cisco: The Internet Needs More Control

Cisco Systems Building 2 at the San Jose, California main campus. Photographed by user Coolcaesar on August 24, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cisco Systems Building 2 at the San Jose, California main campus. Photographed by user Coolcaesar on August 24, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cisco Systems is making an unusual case for itself: The Internet must be subject to a higher amount of control, and big companies will work with governments to make that possible.

The message came in an announcement on Monday, rich in corporate partners and allies, that was intended to show Cisco’s progress in creating its so-called Intercloud, a proposed network of cloud computing systems with high performance, security and control.

In addition to improving security, the Intercloud is meant to help companies comply with the regulations of countries regarding the information that moves within their borders. For example, in Germany, where personal data privacy is a priority, that sort of technology can help personal information stay out of public hands.

Also, important infrastructure like traffic control systems are increasingly run over the Internet. It’s important that those systems have better security and control.

“Our critical infrastructure will all be connected,” said Robert Lloyd, Cisco’s president of development and sales. “I don’t think we want it to run on a public consumer cloud.”

But there is an obvious downside: This so-called data sovereignty means that digital information stored inside a country is subject to the laws of that country. In nations with less democratic views, that can mean censorship.

“I always thought data sovereignty was important,” Mr. Lloyd said. “Events of the last six to 12 months have accelerated the requirements for data sovereignty and privacy.”

Among the more than 30 companies that Cisco said had added their support to the Intercloud were Deutsche Telekom, British Telecommunications and Equinix. A number of other companies, Cisco said, are building cloud systems and applications that are compliant with the Intercloud.

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