Brazil builds direct Internet cable to Europe to avoid US spying

Proposed transatlantic cableBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS |
The government of Brazil is to construct a transatlantic cable across the Atlantic Ocean in order to avoid having its Internet traffic to and from Europe intercepted by American intelligence agencies. According to reports, the fiber-optic cable will stretch for 3,500 miles from the northeastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza to the Portuguese capital Lisbon. It will cost the Brazilian government in excess of US$185 million, but it will allow the country’s existing Internet traffic to and from Europe to travel without going through cables owned by American service providers. According to Brazilian officials, the construction of the cable is among several steps announced by the Brazilian government aimed at disassociating its communications infrastructure from American companies. The move follows revelations made last year by American defector Edward Snowden that the US National Security Agency specifically targeted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s personal communications as part of its intelligence-collection efforts targeting Brazil. In response to the revelations, Rousseff cancelled a planned official state visit to Washington and accused the US of having committed “a breach of international law and an affront” against Brazil’s sovereignty. The planned fiber-optic cable connection to Europe will be overseen by Telecomunicacoes Brasileiras SA, Brazil’s state-owned telecommunications conglomerate, known commonly as TeleBras. The company’s president, Francisco Ziober Filho, said in an interview last week that none of the $185 million that will be spent on the project will end up in the pockets of American companies. For over a year, experts have been warning that the Snowden revelations about the extent of the NSA’s global communications-interception activities might undermine the American telecommunications sector, insomuch as it could undercut America’s role and influence in global Internet governance. Many countries, Brazil included, are beginning to actively reconsider their dependence on US-managed Internet networks that host the content of social media sites, cloud computing databases, or telecommunications exchanges. There are reports that European-based cloud providers are seeing unprecedented increase in sales inquiries. Bloomberg cites a study by the Washington-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which suggests that the American telecommunications sector “could forgo as much as $35 billion” as a direct result of Snowden’s revelations. Brazil’s President Rousseff told a press conference last month that, once the cable to Portugal is constructed, her government will begin building direct Internet connections to Asia and Africa.

5 Responses to Brazil builds direct Internet cable to Europe to avoid US spying

  1. That’s stupid! It’s best to keep it local and avoid wifi whereas the signal can be intercepted and use high encryption on the networks. Putting out a cable means any U.S. Navy sub can send divers to plant listening devices on the cable to intercept any signal coming from that line. If Brazil wants to keep their line clean, it will have to be guarded 24/7 and I doubt they have the military budget to secure all 3.5k miles of it.

  2. AlbertE. says:

    These people obviously do not understand how the Internet works. Any traffic is broken into packets and can be and is sent through a multitude of routers in various nations, regardless of fiber optic cables. Two Pakistani terrorists communicating within the boundaries of Pakistan and using Internet Messenger might have their communication pass through a router located somewhere within the confines of the United States. All of this is done automatically and without human intervention.

  3. cynic says:

    as if the NSA doesn’t own the routers in Europe and Brasil already

  4. Goldie says:

    Highly question the effectiveness of this method, on behalf of Brazil. My question is, how transparent are they being about the “real” costs of this project?

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