Years from now, we might look back on NSA spying as the thing that broke the Internet.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is so offended by U.S. espionage against her government, as documented in the Edward Snowden leaks, she has proposed a range of measures to increase privacy. One of those is to lay fiber optic cable directly from Latin America to Europe. Currently, much of Brazil’s traffic passes through North America, and that is where the NSA may be intercepting it.
Earlier this month, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced plans to create an undersea fiber-optic cable that would funnel internet traffic between South America and Europe, bypassing the US entirely. Rousseff also urged legislators to pass an amendment that would force Google, Microsoft, and other US web companies to store data for Brazilian users on servers located within Brazil, while the country’s postal service has already begun developing an encrypted domestic email system.
The moves come as a direct response to allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been eavesdropping on Rousseff’s phone calls and emails, according to classified documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The reports, published earlier this year, have escalated diplomatic tensions between the Obama administration and Rousseff, who yesterday accused the US of violating international law in a scathing speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
The Internet will not cease to function simply because there’s a new way to send email from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon, but as governments assert more control over what is supposed to be a resilient, independent and open network, we could start to have problems.