Brazil plans to build a submarine internet cable that directly links Brazil with Europe to counter US electronic espionage. The project is estimated to cost some $250 million.
The secure connection is expected to be operational in late 2017, as was announced at the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona. The announcement is following the 2013 WikiLeaks revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored former President Dilma Rousseff’s official and private communications, as well as that of her entire cabinet.
This new connection may impede America’s economic relationship with Brazil as the link to Europe would avoid the US entirely. At this moment the US is the primary transfer node for Brazilian Internet traffic. And before the Wikileaks revelations, the Brazilian telecommunications company Telebras actually announced plans to construct a new cable directly to the US. The Brazilian government quickly prohibited the US-Brazil data link project, ordering Telebras to seek a direct connection with Europe instead.
So, is this the beginning of a new trend of global network infrastructure that avoids US soil all together? We don’t think so. The initiative seems to lack any practical knowledge of the way data communications and surveillance work. The traffic can easily be monitored right after leaving the main connection when it branches off to find its way to its many destinations. What’s more, the most used network equipment for building fiber connections, such as routers and switches, is known for the backdoors that offer security services across the globe access to the information that runs through it.
This move is probably just an initiative to send a political message to the US. In any case, the project shows that net neutrality remains under pressure.
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