BRICS countries are close to completing a brand new Internet backbone that would bypass the United States entirely and thereby protect both governments and citizens from NSA spying.
In light of revelations that the National Security Agency hacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, in addition to recording information about 124 billion phone calls during a 30-day period earlier this year, the fallout against the NSA has accelerated.
Brazil is set to finalize a 34,000-kilometre undersea fiber-optic cable by 2015 that will run from Vladivostok, Russia to Fortaleza, Brazil, via Shantou, China, Chennai, India and Cape Town, South Africa.
According to the Hindu, the project will create, “a network free of US eavesdropping,” which via legislative mandates will also force the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo to store all data generated by BRICS nations locally, shielding it from NSA snooping.
“The BRICS countries have the muscle to pull this off,” notes Washington’s Blog. “Each of the BRICS countries are in the top 25 largest economies in the world. China has the world’s second largest economy, India is 3rd, Russia 6th, Brazil 7th, and South Africa 25th.”
However, some privacy experts fear that this will do little to stop the NSA, given that it has tapped undersea cables since the Cold War era. Others are more positive.
“Any alternative would be a positive thing, writes Michael Dorfman. “The more choice you have, the better. Yet no-one can say for sure whether this new Internet will be safer than its US counterpart and will be able to protect the rights of regular users, including the privacy of personal data and free access to resources, more effectively.”
The BRICS cable was already in development months before the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden first became public in June.
In September it emerged that the NSA had been spying on Brazilian government communications as well as Brazilian oil company Petrobras. Spooks hacked into the firm’s computer network to eavesdrop on conversations between CEOs.
The current Internet architecture is dominated by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is largely controlled by the United States.
Other entrepreneurs are also fighting back against NSA surveillance. Tech maverick John McAfee recently announced that he was to fund a $100 gadget named Decentral that would sync up with a modem to thwart NSA spying and provide total anonymity.
Asked what he would do if the US government banned the product, McAfee responded, “I’ll sell it in England, Japan, the Third World. This is coming and cannot be stopped.”