You can imagine the NSA getting impatient over free lunches following the announcement last month about Google’s proposed underseas fiber optic cable that will span the Pacific Ocean from the US west coast to Japan starting mid-2016.
The new cable dubbed “Faster” to transmit 60 terabits per second will be “easy to tap for sure”, according to a former NSA official quoted in a report by online news portal VentureBeat.
Google will cough out US$300 million to join hands with several parties – including China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel – for the project which “could have big implications for Google on the public-cloud front and also for mobile needs”.
The involvement of some of these Google’s partners in this undertaking would blow the socks off many in the intelligence communities.
Intelligence agencies tapping into undersea cables have been well documented. The NSA’s British counterparts GCHQ, for example, have “Tempora” that could collect up to 21 million gigabytes of data every 24 hours as previously revealed by Edward Snowden, according to VentureBeat.
Apart from tapping communications, undersea cables are also left vulnerable exactly where they are.
Media reports had it that the Egyptian Armed Forces have arrested 3 scuba divers who tried to cut and sabotage an undersea internet cable in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile lawyers representing the US government are in court hearings at the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan this week to defend the government’s bulk collection of telephone records from millions of Americans. Please stay tune.