US security watchdogs wipe out Google, Meta’s submarine cable • The Register

Security agencies in the United States have recommended that the FCC approve the commissioning of a mega submarine cable from the United States to APAC, the Pacific Light Cable Network, after Google and Meta signed an agreement promising to restrict Chinese company Pacific Light Data Communications. Co Ltd.’s “access to information and infrastructure”.

Panoramic view of the beautiful north coast of Taiwan, Toucheng, one of the landing points of the NCP

Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) consists of 11,806 km of fiber and has a capacity of 120 Tbit / s, which will make it the trans-Pacific route with the greatest capacity. Google said at the start of the project that the PLCN “will bring lower latency, more security, and greater bandwidth to Google users in the APAC region.”

Google, Meta, and the Chinese company Pacific Light Data Communications Co Ltd (PLDC) are all part of the PLCN cable consortium.

In a DoJ statement last week, state organs explained their precautions were due to China’s “sustained efforts” to “acquire the sensitive personal data of millions of Americans.”

The Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security (DHS) – all members of the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the U.S. Telecommunications and Services Sector (which ridiculously called itself Team Telecom) – said Meta and Google had agreed to a security deal, paving the way for agencies to recommend that the FCC license them to operate the cable, which contains six pairs of optical fibers and will handle some internet data traffic growing between APAC and the United States.

PLCN currently has landings in Baler Bay in the Philippines, Toucheng in Taiwan and El Segundo, California on the west coast of the United States.

The submarine cable, first announced in 2016, would have been the first-ever direct link between Hong Kong and the United States, but the consortium dropped a request for a cable landing near the eastern delta of the Des Pearls in August 2020.

PLDC is the project’s biggest funder, and the United States has raised concerns that China may be more easily swayed by China after the sale of the company by real estate king Wei Junkang. to Beijing-based broadband provider Dr Peng Telecom & Media Group in 2017. Dr. Peng has ties to Chinese government companies as well as Huawei, currently in the midst of a multi-year battle with the United States , which in May 2019 placed it on the Commerce Department’s Entity List, restricting the export of hardware and software from the United States. to designated organizations, unless expressly approved.

Google and Facebook last year [PDF] asked the FCC for permission to activate the section of the NCP between the United States and the Philippines and Taiwan, which means its Hong Kong section would remain dormant. Friday’s statement means the feds will agree.

“These agreements allow Google and Meta to take advantage of additional critical cable capacity while protecting the privacy and security of Americans under conditions that reflect the current threat environment,” the prosecutor said Friday. Deputy General Matthew G Olsen of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. .

U.S. security agencies said (among other undeclared things) the couple agreed to “continue to diversify points of interconnection in Asia, including, but not limited to, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam “.

Meta said The register: “We are encouraged by the Administration’s recommendation to approve our use of the PLCN submarine cable system to connect the United States to the Philippines.

“This cable system increases Internet capacity between the two countries … Our approach is to build secure, state-of-the-art submarine cables where all data passing through them is protected by advanced encryption.” ®

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