Data has become the world’s most important resource. Now Silicon Valley giants want to keep government from standing in the way of profits
One hundred and sixty years ago, the first transatlantic telegram traveled from Britain to the United States along a rickety undersea wire. It consisted of twenty-one words – and took seventeen hours to arrive.
Today, the same trip takes as little as 60 milliseconds. A dense mesh of fiber-optic cables girdles the world, pumping vast quantities of information across the planet. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 543 terabits of data are flowing across borders every second. That’s the equivalent of roughly 13 million copies of the complete works of Shakespeare.