the techno-utility complex or, the end of the distributed

I'm en route to Vilnius for the weekend and then to Limerick for final reviews but I thought I'd still manage to get a blog entry in. It's a recurring theme of mine that the notion that the Internet is a distributed entity in which nodes communicate in a non-hierarchical manner is largely a matter of ideology. Still, take a look "Red Shift Meets Event Horizon" by Phil Waineright and "The Techno-Utility Complex" by Nicholas Carr. Boarding is in a few minutes so I don't have time to recount the entire argument now (well, I tried and stupidly I closed the window, losing the text). We're moving rapidly toward greater consolidation at the level of data centers.

What implications does this have for privacy and surveillance? For cities (remember that the emergence of the contemporary data center went hand-in-hand with the development of the global city…and, correct me if I'm wrong, but these new data will  largely be located outside of urban conditions)? For regions (what does physical and telematic distance from these data centers mean, what does it mean if a country doesn't have access to them)?