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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Take-my-data-and-go-home dept.
c0lo writes: "Reuters reports

(Reuters) Brazil and the European Union agreed on Monday to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil's reliance on the United States after Washington spied on Brasilia.

At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to "guarantee the neutrality" of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil's Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance. According to other sources, the construction is scheduled to begin in July.

A joint venture between Brazilian telecoms provider Telebras and Spain's IslaLink Submarine Cables would lay the communications link. Telebras would have a 35 percent stake, IslaLink would have a 45 percent interest and European and Brazilian pension funds could put up the remainder.

So it has come to this"

Related Stories

UK Official Warns of Russian Risk to Undersea Cables 33 comments

Russia a 'risk' to undersea cables, defence chief warns

The UK's most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the defence staff, said Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication. He said it would be an "immediately and potentially catastrophic" hit to the economy if they were cut or disrupted.

The cables criss-cross the seabed, connecting up countries and continents. [...] Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute defence think tank, Sir Stuart said the vulnerability of undersea lines posed a "new risk to our way of life".

Related: Brazil, Europe Direct Cable to avoid US spying
Undersea Cables Wiring the Earth
Spies Would Need SUPER POWERS to Tap Undersea Cables.
160 Tbps Transatlantic Cable Planned
Microsoft, Facebook, and Telxius Complete 160 Tb/s Atlantic Ocean Cable


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Konomi on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:31AM

    by Konomi (189) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:31AM (#6503)

    If we're lucky we might get a bunch of new undersea cables that we can later incorporate into the world network. If we're unlucky we might end up with two Internet networks, thanks USA! I'm sure the USA or insert bad country scary people who are going to come around to your house and personally remove your freedoms, could easily find a nice spot in the cable and monitor what's going through it.

    I'm really hoping this just leads to more encrypted network traffic in the first place which would be one of many useful steps to actually protecting users privacy.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:43AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:43AM (#6510) Journal

      If we're unlucky we might end up with two Internet networks, thanks NSA!

      FTFY.

      My advice (and, possibly, your self-correcting effort in the future): stop blanket blaming entire countries for the errors of their government. I'm sure many of the US contributors to soylentnews aren't happy themselves.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by basicbasicbasic on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:40PM

        by basicbasicbasic (411) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:40PM (#6574)

        The word "country" has more than one meaning.

        There are certain contexts where "country" can mean the citizens of that country, but in a political context "country" means the government of that country, and he was obviously laying blame on the government of the USA not the citizens of the USA. If another country wants to deal with your country they don't meet with Joe Sixpack from Kickapoo, they meet with the government. The government makes the laws, controls the police and the army and the Three Letter Agencies. As an outsider I do not blame the citizens of the USA for what the NSA is doing, but I will blame the USA - meaning the government.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:44PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:44PM (#6596) Journal

          The word "country" has more than one meaning.

          There are certain contexts where "country"...

          While there are more contexts in which if you utter USA Joe Sixpack from Kickapoo will automatically think That's my country. Patriot/nationalist or not, I have some affinity to it (well, the last part sounds unlikely coming from Joe Sixpack, but never mind... you get my point).

          but I will blame the USA - meaning the government

          A matter of perception and it's not your perception or intended meaning, don't you think?
          I (an outsider to US myself) mean: how would you explain a defensive attitude in replies/comments on the line of "Spying? What's the big deal, everybody is doing it; whoever's not doing it, it's a pussy"?
          To me, it sounds an awful lot as an ex post facto justification to alleviate some lost face in a dirty game (I'm pretty sure the very great majority of these posters aren't cold-fjord type of characters)

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0) by Cold Fjord on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:07AM

            by Cold Fjord (129) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:07AM (#7104)

            Spying is a means of gaining a clearer view of a situation in what are naturally muddy waters. We don't do it because everyone else does it; we do it because it allows us to set more effective policy.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:53PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:53PM (#7557)

              You've already said that.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hatta on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:18PM

        by hatta (879) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:18PM (#6583)

        Until the people of those countries are prepared to take to the streets to get their governments under control, they are complicit in the errors of that government.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:47PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:47PM (#6598) Journal

          I cannot agree with you. You are entitled to your opinion, but if you really think so... beware, that's quite a dangerous path you are stepping on.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hatta on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:59PM

            by hatta (879) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:59PM (#6601)

            Not nearly as dangerous as continued mass apathy.

            • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:58PM

              by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:58PM (#6686) Homepage Journal

              I don't think it's apathy so much as a feeling of helplessness. After all, PATRIOT, DMCA, Bono Act, etc -- all the things corporations want and voters don't, got passed with overwhelming majorities from both parties. Meanwhile, there isn't a single person I know of in the House or Senate who wants pot legalized, even though more than half of all voters want it legal.

              --
              Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
              • (Score: 5, Interesting) by frojack on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:46PM

                by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:46PM (#6824) Journal

                Meanwhile, there isn't a single person I know of in the House or Senate who wants pot legalized

                You probably just don't know of them, its not that they don't want it legalized.

                http://rt.com/usa/lawmakers-demand-reclassify-mari juana-legal-926/ [rt.com]
                http://swampland.time.com/2014/02/12/marijuana-leg alization-california-congress-obama/ [time.com]
                http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/02/pot-l egalization-goes-federal/ [go.com]

                Probably at least half of them have at one time, or currently use it, in the privacy of their own home, because no one is going to arrest a Congressman or Senator when they can just hold that over their heads for small favors. (You just about can't arrest a member of congress while congress is in session. Its a big deal if you try).

                --
                No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:42PM

                  by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:42PM (#6870) Homepage Journal

                  Probably at least half of them have at one time, or currently use it, in the privacy of their own home

                  Almost certainly, since almost every boomer I've ever met has at least tried pot, and most of the government guys are boomers. But hypocricy abounds in congress, how many anti-gay legislators were cought sucking off some guy? How many bible thumpers were caught in adultery? Look at Seven of Nine's husband, Illinois politician Jack Ryan, bible-thumping tea partier who got caught lying to Republican hacks about his wanting to take his Borg wife to sex parties and watch other guys bang her (which is why she divorced him)?

                  How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips move. A politician will vote against his own (other) wishes as well as his constituents' wishes if he thinks it will get him reelected.

                  Hypocrites.

                  --
                  Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:30PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:30PM (#6957)

          "Until the people of those countries are prepared to take to the streets to get their governments under control, they are complicit in the errors of that government."

          I'm American and I fully support such activities. Unfortunately, I've stopped trying to explain the reasoning and logic for my opinion because any contrarian opinions on this subject get savagely modded down to -1 troll. I only post anonymously on these stories now. It's just too dangerous to post contrarian opinions that go against the groupthink on Slashdot and here.

        • (Score: 1) by HiThere on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:55AM

          by HiThere (866) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @02:55AM (#7083) Journal

          That attitude might make you feel good and righteous, but it doesn't accomplish anything else.

          People react strongly against things that affect them strongly. Weakly against things that affect them weakly. And unless it is extremely detrimental to them, they, in mass, tend to go along with the accepted authorities. (Of course, different groups select different authorities, and I don't quite understand the basis for that selection, but it's clearly not wisdom.)

          Also people's social structures tend to be hierarchical. This is probably a bad choice, particularly when so many accepted authorities are malign, but to counterbalance this they also usually have multiple hierarchies that they accept.

          You are asking mass rejection of multiple levels of hierarchical authority on multiple different hierarchies for matters that don't strongly affect them. You aren't going to get any large response to this, except possibly among the age groups of 15-23, and mainly males. And small responses aren't going to be effective. (There have been protests, but they've been largely ignored.)

          A part of the problem is that the bulge of the population is no longer in the late-teens through early-adult age group, it's mainly older now. Another problem is that there has been corporate buy-outs of most channels of media. And things that are not acceptable to the owners are strongly downplayed...or even just not mentioned. So even among those likely to respond, the news just doesn't get out in a synchronized manner, as it did in the 1960's-1980's.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:02AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:02AM (#6521)

      If we're lucky we might get a bunch of new undersea cables that we can later incorporate into the world network. If we're unlucky we might end up with two Internet networks

      Redundancy is a good thing. A second Internet could also be a good thing. Even multiple incompatible internets can be beneficial in the long run. People building completely new networks in novel ways sometimes come up with better ways of doing things.

    • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:26PM

      by Aiwendil (531) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:26PM (#6902) Journal

      Which always made me wonder why communication-cables lacks point-to-point encryption.

      Since both endpoints are controlled by the same entities one could even have extra fun and use different cryptos (be it keys of algos) on the different "channels" in the cable, I mean, how often are the packages of data-stream all sent over the same modulation in the same fibre?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by neiras on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:36AM

    by neiras (2155) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:36AM (#6505)

    The US Navy can and probably will tap this cable.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/201 3/07/the-creepy-long-standing-practice-of-undersea -cable-tapping/277855/ [theatlantic.com]

    There is no way that the Brazilians and Europeans haven't figured this out. I have to conclude that the data sovereignty branding is just political spin to garner support for the project.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by TheLink on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:41AM

      by TheLink (332) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:41AM (#6509) Journal
      Yep. They better use encryption if they are really worried about that.

      As far as I see the main technical advantage of a direct cable is lower latency. Otherwise they could have set up a "virtual encrypted cable" over the existing stuff.

      The other advantages are political and perhaps economic.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:58AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:58AM (#6518) Journal

      Yes, sure they can. But, as a late friend of mine learned very close to the end of his life (that is, immediately after striking a match to see how much gas the tank still holds), something being possible doesn't mean is a good idea to actually do it.

      Problem is: for how long will the US govt be willing to support the cost of such aggressive acts before a significant part of their "friends/allies" will start avoiding contact with anything US based? It may take a while, but... US is only 5% of the world population; significantly limiting relations with US has better chances to happen in our life time than... say... Kurzweil's strong AI.

      Uh, you know? Maybe unrelated, but Spain is a NATO member and so is Germany or France. You really think pissing of your allies is a good geopolitical strategy?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:53AM (#6552)

        What allies?

        Isn't the excuse always "But we're not any worse than everybody else. Everybody else is spying on their enemies too".

        The rest of the world just needs to get the point the US has been making loud and clearly.

        • (Score: 1) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:19PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:19PM (#6564) Journal

          The rest of the world just needs to get the point the US has been making loud and clearly.

          Call me a stupid optimist or naive, but I can hardly believe the US in its whole is the "baddy" here, I prefer to think it is only their govt that ran amok... well, maybe their corporations too.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by unimatrix on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:50PM

        by unimatrix (1983) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:50PM (#6729)

        Um, the DGSE (French Foreign Intelligence) spends about a quarter of its published budget on industrial espionage to help French companies. It's been widely known in the international business community that they've been doing this for decade and some of their favorite targets are US and British companies.

        The dirty little secret is that everyone is trying to spy one everyone and has been for a very long time. To anyone who's worked inside the beltway this really isn't new news. It's just the rest of the world is just now finding this out.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by gottabeme on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:26PM

        by gottabeme (1531) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:26PM (#6758)

        Read the book Blind Man's Bluff. Even U.S. Presidents didn't know what the Navy was doing, tapping Soviet Navy cables in their own backyard. A U.S. sub literally sailed along a Soviet beach looking through its periscope for a "CAUTION: UNDERSEA CABLE" sign, found one, and proceeded to tap the cable.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:44AM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:44AM (#6534) Journal

      Fair point. However, forcing the US to go to the expense and trouble of tapping the cable does at least mean we're no longer just handing them data for free, we're making them work for it.

      Also, if the US do tap the cable and the EU/Brazilians can prove it, then it gives them another political/ public opinion card in their deck to use against the US should the need ever arise. Listening in on other peoples' data over cables you own is bad, and the US gov is reaping the bad press of that at home and abroad right now. Going out of your way to tap into someone else's is far worse, in the eyes of the public if nothing else. Kicking up a fuss about this (or threatening to) could be useful when negotiating with the US and/or influencing public opinion at some time in the future.

      Finally, couldn't they just put a big fat crypto box at either end of the cable, so that any data collected mid-Atlantic is useless / would require brazilians of hours of processing time to break?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khakipuce on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:42AM

      by khakipuce (233) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:42AM (#6549)

      But there is quite a bit of difference between having a whole data centre wired into the traffic and having some sort of covert tap with presumably limited bandwidth. Also are modern cables not fiber-optic and so much more difficult to tap covertly?

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mojo chan on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:53PM

        by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:53PM (#6579)

        Indeed, the GP underestimates the difficulty of what he is proposing. First you have to get the tap on there without anyone noticing, so basically before it is turned on or there will be an interruption to service. Then you have to deal with cutting edge fibre optics running at very high data rates, which means laying your own similar cable back to the US to carry it all or installing some kind of filtering hardware under the sea. You also have to do all this in such a way that when the cable owner decides to upgrade their fibre optic transceivers at either end to increase the bandwidth 10x your equipment at least fails gracefully and doesn't break the cable. The upgrade may cost them a few million every few years but if you want to keep listening you have to have an on-going state of the art R&D effort to produce new gear for that hostile environment and keep installing/removing it without anyone noticing.

        You also need to hope they don't use an encryption scheme that you can't break, which would ruin your entire effort. The NSA also has to worry about the foreign spies that have infiltrated it* finding out and whistle-blowers leaking information.

        *If Snowden could get all that stuff as a lowly contractor we have to assume foreign intelligence agencies are doing much better.

        --
        const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ezber Bozmak on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:14PM

          by Ezber Bozmak (764) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:14PM (#6752)

          First you have to get the tap on there without anyone noticing, so basically before it is turned on or there will be an interruption to service.

          That is incorrect. Surreptitious tapping only requires that the fibre be bent enough for some photons to escape. That will slightly reduce SNR, but it won't result in a loss of service.

          http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/analysis/1863434/th e-growing-security-risk-fibre-tapping [computing.co.uk]

          • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:44PM

            by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:44PM (#6768)

            Right, but consider what you are proposing. Bend a strand of fibre. In an armoured, waterproof cable containing many strands. A cable designed to keep water out for 100+ years. And then repairing it so that it doesn't fail.

            --
            const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
    • (Score: 1) by dargaud on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:45PM

      by dargaud (364) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:45PM (#6597)

      The US Navy can and probably will tap this cable.

      I don't understand why things as important as underwater cables don't use end to end encryption.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by ArghBlarg on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:10PM

      by ArghBlarg (1449) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:10PM (#6697)

      If this cable is wholly-owned by non-US players, all involved should just declare ahead of time that any such tampering will be considered an official act of war by the U.S. or its allies.

      Maybe that's useless grandstanding, but then again maybe that'll put enough bad karma on it that it will keep them from doing such invasive things.

      I know, I know, I'm being hopelessly optimistic but I think the U.S. is about tapped-out as far as starting useless petty wars goes.. the threat of even more expensive conflicts for no real morally justifiable purpose is perhaps the U.S. government's only weak point these days. The public is finally getting a bit tired of the wasted money, effort and lives.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:10PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:10PM (#6847) Journal

      The article you linked sort of hints that it is very difficult to tap an under sea cable, especially in this day and age when it will be fiber optic.

      Fiber does not have an electromagnetic signature that you can read via inductance, the way old copper cables were tapped. You literally have to tap into the cable itself, and echo all the traffic on your own cable, and that means you have to have your own cable nearby or lay a new one. And you have to physically cut the cable to make the splice, and contrive to keep water out of the housing.

      About the only time you can do that is before the cable comes into use, because a cable that mysteriously goes dead, and then comes back on line an hour later is pretty suspicious.

      These cables will be tapped where they make landfall, or where they tie into pre-existing infrastructure.

      The NSA already has plenty of taps in the EU, usually with the approval and assistance of the same governments that are now planning to lay their own cable. Probably in Brazil as well. So we have to assume this is mostly grandstanding, playing to the home crowd, and the cable is justified by traffic load alone.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by tftp on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:37AM

    by tftp (806) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:37AM (#6507) Homepage

    This new cable can be tapped by NSA within weeks after installation. It would be not the first undersea cable [wikipedia.org] that is tapped by NSA using submarines and other special equipment.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by monster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:45AM

      by monster (1260) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:45AM (#6550) Journal

      Yes, tapping undersea cables is possible. It is also expensive, much more than putting some spying equipment in a closet in a datacenter.

      You may not be able to avoid tapping altogether, but sure you can make it expensive as hell. If you can't defeat the NSA, trying to bankrupt it isn't so bad as a strategy.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TheGratefulNet on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:07PM

        by TheGratefulNet (659) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:07PM (#6558)

        how many cables would it take, and by how many non-US government to finally put too high a cost or burden on the spooks so that they can't afford to do it?

        sadly, even if every country in the world did this, the NSA's budget is, I fear, big enough to still not be 'dos'd by this effort.

        now, if every person in the world started running strong and truly private encryption, that would break the camel's back. but a few countries here and there, I don't think that would cause nsa any loss of sleep at all.

        we have let the US get this powerful and in particular, our spook agencies. to pull back that power is probably more than we can manage, easily, right now. I honestly don't know what the fix is, but 'big bullies' never willingly give back power they assumed. and not usually peacefully, either.

        --
        "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
        • (Score: 2) by monster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:52PM

          by monster (1260) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:52PM (#6634) Journal

          I think it's not a matter of "bankrupting it so they can't even buy toilet paper", but of "turning their operating costs so high they can no longer realistically request funding to spy everyone, everywhere, everytime". Maybe then some not-so-moron politician would think "hey, this Internet spying thing is really expensive!. Maybe we would be better off with just a few operatives on the ground doing infiltration instead of monitoring everybody's porn downloads"

    • (Score: 1) by anyanka on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:59PM

      by anyanka (1381) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:59PM (#6837)

      *But*, tapping a fiber optic cable (although possible), is a lot harder than than the fairly trivial case of tapping a copper cable, as in the Ivy Bells operation.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Kawumpa on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:44AM

    by Kawumpa (1187) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:44AM (#6511)

    Anyone who seriously thinks that this isn't just another propaganda ploy in order to distract from their own agency's surveillance and data mining activities hasn't been paying attention lately. It's not like continental Europe isn't striving to do exactly what the NSA or GCHQ have been doing for quite some time now. The EU though still needs to attach the finishing touches to its data retention policies and make it all legal.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:19AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:19AM (#6527) Journal

      Anyone who seriously thinks that this isn't just another propaganda ploy in order to distract from their own agency's surveillance and data mining activities hasn't been paying attention lately.

      Let's put it in another way: wouldn't many US Comcast subscribers be happy with $185mils worth of propaganda that brings extra bandwitdh to them?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by lajos on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:32PM

      by lajos (528) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:32PM (#6716)

      ^^^ This. Wish I had mod points.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:00AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:00AM (#6520) Homepage Journal

    ... "That's what submarines are for" but some others beat me to it.

    However it would be straightforward to encrypt all the data that passes through the cable.

    Yeah the NSA is good at code cracking, but don't think the europeans don't know how to design a cipher that the NSA cannot crack.

    Most codebreaking isn't actually any kind of mathematical finesse. Go look at the XKCD where they discuss how difficult it would be to crack and encrypted computer, as comparing to beating the computer's owner over the head with a five-dollar wrench.

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by TheRaven on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:44AM

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:44AM (#6535) Journal
      There's more subtlety to it than that. There are lots of well-known cryptographic algorithms that are unbreakable, if implemented perfectly. Unfortunately, it's very very hard to implement a cryptographic algorithm in such a away that it doesn't leak information. For example, most processors will consume subtly more power adding pairs of ones than adding a one and a zero or two zeros. If you can accurately measure the power consumption of a hardware security module that does symmetric crypto, you can persuade it to leak the key by providing it with crafted plaintext and seeing how the power usage fluctuates. Recent techniques have shown that you can remotely measure the power consumption if you're very patient, because it basically boils down to taking a load of samples and doing statistical analysis on them.
      --
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:59AM (#6555)

        How is that going to work, when the CPU you connect to the bugged cable has no idea about the encryption key?

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by WillR on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:24PM

          by WillR (2012) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:24PM (#6658)
          It doesn't have to work without the key. Somewhere in the spy tradecraft spectrum between the mundane "slip the janitor $100 to give you five minutes alone with the endpoint hardware" and the fantastic "plot of the next Bourne movie, complete with Hollywood progress bars for installing a backdoor, double-crossing femmes fatales, car chases, and shootouts" lies a way for a sufficiently motivated agency to exfiltrate the keys.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Ryuugami on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:26AM

    by Ryuugami (2925) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:26AM (#6531)

    Posting the "obligatory xkcd" in TFS feels like cheating.

    Btw, the https version of SN seems to ignore the logged-in state of the http side, and when I try to login on the https side, it redirects me to http and ignores the login attempt. Anyone knows of a way to get https working, or is it still in development?

    --
    If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:43AM (#6533)

      Posting the "obligatory xkcd" in TFS feels like cheating.

      My apologies, I'll abstain for the future.

      I guess I was just trying to resurrect the tradition: I didn't see any "obligatory xkcd" in SN comments 'til now.

      c0lo
      (posting AC because it's a personal message, doesn't contribute to the discussion)

    • (Score: 1) by mth on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:22AM

      by mth (2848) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:22AM (#6546) Homepage

      Using "So it has come to this" is cheating anyway, even if it wasn't in the summary, because it applies to every article.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:05PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:05PM (#6557) Journal

        ... because it applies to every article.

        Maybe. However... aside posturing and diplomatic protests, do you know of any other direct actions taken (or even only planned) by other countries to avoid NSA surveillance?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by duvel on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:50AM

    by duvel (1496) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:50AM (#6538)
    What we're actually seeing here is part of a bigger move of Europe crawling out from under the US's wings.

    The impression is growing that the US is becoming more and more isolationist. The US used to police the world, but now are refraining from doing so. This is for instance visible in the lack of US's involvement in Syria. The jury's still out on why the US is making this move, but plausible explanations I've read so far are include financial issues (the financial crisis & US debt increases the burden), a weariness of the US people to attempt helping countries that don't want to be helped, and (I think an important one) domestic energy production through fracking making involvement in the middle east less necessary.

    All of this makes that Europe notices that it's traditional ally is offering less support, and therefore Europe itself has to step up and start doing things themselves now. This link ( Carnegie Europe [carnegieeurope.eu] , especially the final paragraphs) is just one of the many articles that see this evolution for Europe as both a risk, and (if handled correctly) a tremendous new opportunity.
    --
    This Sig is under surveilance by the NSA
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by francois.barbier on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:13AM

      by francois.barbier (651) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:13AM (#6543)

      The impression is growing that the US is becoming more and more isolationist.

      Agreed. Also it's not just Europe, it's the whole world kind of giving the middle finger to the big bully.
      Everybody sees he doesn't respect the rules. Why play with him?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:58AM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:58AM (#6553) Journal

      Translation for non-americans:

      > What we're actually seeing here is part of a bigger move of Europe crawling out from under the US's wings.

      Europe has been pissed off at the US for decades now, and only now is it finally able to begin freeing itself from US influence.

      > The impression is growing that the US is becoming more and more isolationist. The US used to police the world, but now are refraining from doing so.

      The US has bullied the world since WW2, and they continue to do so. With the rise of the internet, they aren't able to do it in secret any more.

      > This is for instance visible in the lack of US's involvement in Syria. The jury's still out on why the US is making this move, but plausible explanations I've read so far are include financial issues (the financial crisis & US debt increases the burden), a weariness of the US people to attempt helping countries that don't want to be helped, and (I think an important one) domestic energy production through fracking making involvement in the middle east less necessary.

      The US blew its last shreds of credibility and all the post-9/11 goodwill on two pointless, illegal, 10-year long middle eastern massacres designed to transfer trillions of dollars of wealth to politically-connected arms companies and the like. Some of them still wonder why they don't have the political capital to get involved in another war now.

      > All of this makes that Europe notices that it's traditional ally is offering less support, and therefore Europe itself has to step up and start doing things themselves now.

      Europe just wants the americans to get out of their way now. Thanks very much for helping us out after the war, but you've had 70 years of using your global military, financial and 'cultural' dominance to fuck up the world and get rich, and we consider that reward enough. The debt is paid. Time to return some balance to global politics.

      > This link ( Carnegie Europe , especially the final paragraphs) is just one of the many articles that see this evolution for Europe as both a risk, and (if handled correctly) a tremendous new opportunity.

      Condescending americans view Europe as some backwards little protectorate that needs to "evolve", rather than a financial/ industrial powerhouse larger than the US, which also happens to be the cradle of democracy, freedom and all those other neat things that americans pay lip-service to.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by TheloniousToady on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:08PM

        by TheloniousToady (820) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:08PM (#6582)

        Europe just wants the americans to get out of their way now. Thanks very much for helping us out after the war, but you've had 70 years of using your global military, financial and 'cultural' dominance to fuck up the world and get rich, and we consider that reward enough. The debt is paid. Time to return some balance to global politics.

        Interesting. So which part of France are you from?

        • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by TheloniousToady on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:36PM

          by TheloniousToady (820) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @01:36PM (#6592)

          Looks like this one got marked as "Flamebait". It was actually just a joke.

          I sometimes used to run into moderator confusion like that on the old site, too. On Usenet, I used to put in a winks to clear up the confusion, but it doesn't seem to be common here (or on the old site) so I haven't been doing that. However, if it saves you folks from wasting your mod points, I can start. ;-)

          • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:26PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:26PM (#6659)

            try &#x263a; should come like this: ☺

          • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:04PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:04PM (#6939) Homepage Journal

            Like at the old site, jokes can be hazardous to your karma. My joke may be your flamebait, or you may simply think it's a stupid joke and mod it overrated.

            One of the things I don't like about slashdot is folks are all too willing to mod stale, unfunny jokes up.

            Heh, I just got mod points and can't use a single one, I've already commented in every thread today.

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:12PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:12PM (#6607)

        Europe already had their chance to run the world. How did that end up? World War I, World War II, and the Holocaust. Please Europe, don't try and run things again, America will keep you guys safe.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:51PM

          by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:51PM (#6632) Journal

          Europe is not looking to "run the world", we learned (the hard way) that conquering other countries and telling everyone what to do is pretty shitty. The world is quite happy running itself. We need co-operation, not authoritarianism. We learned that from WW2, and as a result we've enjoyed an unprecedented period of relative peace within Western Europe, a region that has a history of thousands of years of bitter bloodshed.

          However the US is a young nation, and like all youngsters it refuses to learn from the mistakes of its elders. At this point I'm not even sure they are prepared to learn from their own mistakes. The US is intent on conquering the world, despite it being obvious to absolutely everyone else that it's a really bad idea.

          • (Score: 1) by xvan on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:57PM

            by xvan (2416) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:57PM (#6835)

            That doesn't hold...

            American (as a continent) nations are, in many cases, older than some European countries. IE. Italy.

            The fact that they had a previous 'history' to the foundation of the current country doesn't mean they didn't had (or have today) any issues developing their national identity.

            The only reason Europe lost it's imperialist edge, was that after WW2 colonialism was exhausted and the US way of economic imperialism made good business opportunities.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by me on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:59AM

    by me (1944) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:59AM (#6556)

    I would make sure this cable has a massive number of extra data channels in it. (most do already)

    Then put a box at each end that transmits encrypted data back and forward using used channels, but looking like it's real data.

    Then when the US does get a tap on it, and they break the encryption, they find a whole bunch of useless stuff - like the constitution, and copies of Obama's speech saying he'll stop spying on the Germans.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Open4D on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:22PM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:22PM (#6566) Journal

    http://www.submarinecablemap.com/ [submarinecablemap.com]

    Looks like there are potentially already a couple of direct routes between Fortaleza and Lisbon (via the Canary Islands): 1 [submarinecablemap.com], 2 [submarinecablemap.com]

    But as TFA says, "the existing cable between Europe and Brazil is outdated and only used for voice transmission."

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bucc5062 on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:12PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:12PM (#6647)
      I know this is off topic, but thank you for posting this link (why I loved old 'other site' and now this one). I never knew there was so much cable laid down between continents and it really makes me pause when I think about how data is moving around this planet.

      The most interesting line I saw was the one to Longyearbyen [wikipedia.org]. The town hold less then 3000 people, but the seem to have some pretty fine bandwidth options. If I read this wiki entry [wikipedia.org] it has a 10 Gbit/s line but can expand up to 2500 Gbit/s. I also learned that Norway has a space program [wikipedia.org]. All this from one link. Cool.

      As a side note, perhaps those who complain about bandwidth connections in rural places could convince a space agency to set up shop near by.
      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:15PM (#7928)

        Svalbard [wikipedia.org] is a very peculiar place because of the Svalbard Treaty [wikipedia.org] (take a look), there is more than just one space agency there although they don't all have their own permanent setup.

        The Svalbard Satellite Station [wikipedia.org] might be the largest (EUMETSAT, NASA, ESA, and NOAA has some of their own stuff there as well) but there is lots of other stuff (I didn't find any more links to NASA stations or anything at a cursory glance to the Russian dishes but I didn't Google or anything like that).

        Here's some of the links to various stuff on Wikipedia:
        Polish Polar Station [wikipedia.org]
        Arctic Yellow River Station (China) [wikipedia.org]
        Himadri Station (India) [wikipedia.org]
        In the vicinity of Ny-Ålesund [wikipedia.org] one has outposts/stations from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and China.

        There's also the Svalbard Global Seed Vault [wikipedia.org].

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by bitshifter on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:25PM

    by bitshifter (2241) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @12:25PM (#6568)

    Been said before, but I wanted to recommend a good book on the subject of submarines and espionage:
    "Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage" by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew.
    Reads like a novel.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by r00t on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:08PM

    by r00t (1349) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:08PM (#6644)

    Segregation at layer 1 makes sense, but only if you can validate the rest of the hardware. How do you know the Juniper and Cisco gear you've purchased to connect everything hasn't been backdoored? Those companies would most likely be under a gag order preventing them from divulging any indication of the sort.

    Once you've got that part figured out, you need to audit the encryption algorithms you will use in order to make sure those haven't had intentional weaknesses built in as well. After ALLLLLL that, then you need to make sure the nodes on the network do not get phished or otherwise compromised. And that's mostly impossible. How will those nodes on the segregated network get Email? What Search Engines will they be using? All it takes is one piece of malicious software to compromise a node on the segregated network and all that security has gone out the window because the person who schedules so-and-so's meetings clicked the popup and inadvertently installed a reverse ssh connection to some node on the "real" internet.

    It's great that there are countries making active efforts to segregate themselves. It also conceivably opens the possibility of alternative VPN traffic for others but to actually implement "FU! we'll make our own internet! with booze and hookers!" Is far easier to implement in theory than practice.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:35PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:35PM (#6668) Journal

      How do you know the Juniper and Cisco gear you've purchased to connect everything hasn't been backdoored?

      By using gear produced by that France HQ-ed company... what's its name... you know, the one that has some routers 5 times faster [cnn.com] than the competition?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 1) by r00t on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:04PM

        by r00t (1349) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:04PM (#6747)

        RE: By using gear produced by that France HQ-ed company.

        Indeed! Wouldn't that be a nice situation for that company to fall into? In all seriousness however, a scenario such as the one proposed by Brazil is the perfect antithetical to proprietary "black box" hardware and vended solutions. It is an ideal case for open source software, but sadly this also requires proprietary hardware. Perhaps this situation will bring about the advent of a wide adoption of truly open standards, hardware, bios, file formats, etc, etc. It's really the only way to perform a subjective audit based on your security needs. In this situation, even a company on "home ground" could be bribed for a price. The key comes down to being able to conduct and end-to-end audit of the entire infrastructure and having numbers and metrics to prove that everything is the it should be.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by caseih on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:58PM

    by caseih (2744) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:58PM (#6740)

    Brazil and Europe want to control their own communication lines so they can tap them and conduct surveillance without having to rely on the the NSA. It's the best of both worlds, really. The governments get to score points with the voters by saying, we're keeping your data away from the NSA, and allowing them to funnel data through lines and data centers that are on local soil, making local spying a lot easier.