Biden management on Friday recommended Alphabet’s Google and Facebook parent meta for permission to use the undersea cable system to handle growing Internet traffic with Asia. Management has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to license companies to send and receive data on the existing 8,000-mile Pacific light cable network. Undersea fiber-optic cable system connects the United States, Taiwan, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Undersea cables transmit almost all of the world’s Internet data traffic. Google has requested permission to use the meta Philippines-US region, while merging with Taiwan.
Companies are committed to protecting the privacy and security of American data, especially against China’s intelligence activities.
Google and Meta’s plan to drop network cable to Beijing-controlled Hong Kong has been dropped. Several U.S. government agencies have recommended that the plan be scrapped by 2020.
The Justice Department said national security deals with Google and Meta were needed because of “China’s ongoing efforts to obtain sensitive personal data of millions of Americans.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington and Google did not immediately comment.
Google said in 2020 it needed data links to handle the increasing traffic between Taiwan and its data centers in the United States.
A meta spokesman said the cable system “enhances Internet capability” between the United States and the Philippines. The cables are secure and the data is protected by advanced encryption, it said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Google and Meta will be required to make annual assessments of the risk for sensitive data, and they will be able to control or stop data traffic on cables within 24 hours.
Under 300 ocean cables, which carry 99 percent of the world’s data, are the backbone of the Internet.
© Thompson Reuters 2021