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Builtvisible has a detailed history of undersea cables along with their role in espionage, starting with Operation Ivy Bells through the USS Jimmy Carter and the latest threats from earthquakes and terrorists.

Some factoids from the story:

  • There are 277 undersea fibre optic cables in the world today.
  • These cables carry 99% of all international communications, including Internet and telecom traffic.
  • They span a total of 986,543 km, and each day route a quantity of data equivalent to several hundred US Libraries of Congress.
  • Global Internet traffic in 2013 was approximately 51 exabytes and will increase to 132 exabytes by 2018
  • National economies are at risk when cable systems are disrupted.
  • Over 80% of international fibre optic data from Latin America currently routes through the United States
  • Modern tapping can be accomplished in one of two ways: either by splicing the cable or by bending the cable to a point where it begins to leak data.
  • The Guardian revealed how British intelligence agency GCHQ was intercepting data
  • Reuters reports that the EU has threatened to suspend data transfer agreements with the US until Washington strengthens guarantees to protect the privacy of EU citizens.
  • In December 2006 communications were rocked across Asia when the Hengchun earthquake severed a whopping 80% of the cables connecting Taiwan with the rest of the world.
  • Concerns over data terrorism are aimed at the cable infrastructure
  • Three men were arrested off the coast of Alexandria for allegedly cutting the SEA-ME-WE 4 cable connecting much of East Africa, to the rest of world. Damage to the cable affected 614 networks connected to Telecom Egypt.
  • UAVs require 500Mbps of bandwidth each to function. Their missions depend massively on global network reliability
  • The objective of initiatives like Project Loon and Oluvus is ubiquitous and democratic access to the Internet.

The OptIPuter is a personal supercomputer that instantaneously connects to global databases as fast as local hard drives. The OptIPuter uses dedicated (not shared) 10-GigE optical strands that users can “dial up”.

The global dependency of oceanic fiber and the vastness of the ocean indicates there probably have been and will continue to be terrorists threats on fiber.

How far surveillance should go will be debated for the foreseeable future. The growth of cellular and the Internet of Things will soon expand fiber’s global impact.

Related Dailywireless articles include; NSA Spying Threatens Global Internet?, NSA’s Cable Tapping Explained, Ocean Observatory Network Lands in Oregon, Google’s Transpacific Fiber Ready, Google + SingTel = Unity Submarine Fiber, Google: Now it’s Transpacific Fiber, NSA’s Utah Data Center, NSA Revelations: “Tip of the Iceberg”, Snowden: Hero or Traitor?, Fiber Crosses the Pond, The Other Atlantis, Surveillance State, Top Secret America: The Book, The Telephone Game, How Your Location & Preferences are Recorded, Behavioral Targeting: Kill/Capture, Google Vs The Feds, US Government: More Surveillance Power, The Secret Patriot Act, Facebook Invests in Asian Oceanic Fiber , Transoceanic Fiber Upgraded, Underwater Streetview, NSA Stores Social MetaData on US Persons

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