On Friday, the Biden administration suggested that Alphabet’s Google and Facebook parent Meta be granted permission to use an undersea cable system to accommodate rising internet traffic from Asia. The government pushed the FCC to grant the companies licenses to send and receive data via the existing 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network. The United States, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong are all connected by an undersea fiber-optic cable system.
Nearly majority of the world’s internet data traffic is transmitted via submarine cables. Google has requested authorization to connect to Taiwan, whereas Meta has requested permission to use the Philippines-to-United States part. The corporations agreed to safeguard the privacy and security of Americans’ personal information, notably against Chinese intelligence operations.
Google and Meta’s idea scrapped a prior attempt to utilize the network’s cable to reach Beijing-controlled Hong Kong. Several US government authorities have advised that the initiative be halted in 2020. Given China’s “continued efforts to collect the sensitive personal data of millions of US citizens,” the Justice Department claimed the national security agreements with Google and Meta were necessary.
Google and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Google stated that the data connections would be required in 2020 to manage increased traffic between its data centers in Taiwan and the United States. According to a Meta spokeswoman, the “cable infrastructure” connecting the United States and the Philippines “increases internet bandwidth” to “enable individuals to stay connected and exchange content.” According to the company, the cables are secure, and data is protected using modern encryption.
Google and Meta must-do annual risk evaluations of sensitive data, and they must be able to restrict or terminate data transmission on the cables within 24 hours, according to the agreements. Around 300 subsea cables make up the internet’s backbone, transporting 99 percent of all data traffic.