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Against the grain: the data regulatory regimes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan vis-à-vis Russia, China, and Big Tech

Chan, Kenddrick, Chen, Enyi, Heneghan, Matthew, Soffer, Dalya and Wachirapornpruet, Poomthawat (2022) Against the grain: the data regulatory regimes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan vis-à-vis Russia, China, and Big Tech. Digital IR: Working Paper Series. LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Given the relative proximity of Central Asia to Russia and China, the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have extensive military ties with Russia, in addition to playing a significant role in China’s Belt and Road (BRI) and Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiatives. However, when it comes to cyberspace regulation and policy diffusion pathways, we find that the data policies of both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan differ from their Russian or Chinese counterparts— particularly with regards to data sovereignty and data localisation are pertinent to Kazakhstani and Uzbekistani policymakers. This divergence is most notable with Kazakh and Uzbek approaches to US-headquartered Big Tech companies. The data regulatory regimes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan engage in a ‘balancing act’, involving a mix of strict data laws observed in Russia and China on one side, and various compliance agreements with Big Tech companies on the other. Additionally, we find that while Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan may seek to exercise their agency in data policy formulation, they nonetheless remain constrained by technical limitations regarding policy implementation. All of this contributes to a dynamic operational environment that is constantly in flux, which carries implications for Big Tech companies looking to conduct operations in Central Asia.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2022 08:06
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:25

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