Internet Traffic Routing Around The US

from the indeed-it-is dept

There’s a famous saying by John Gilmore, that “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” However, that saying may apply equally to other “damage” beyond censorship — and that includes spying, slow connections and many other things. In fact, with it being considered somewhat common knowledge that US intelligence agencies frequently tap into internet traffic coming through the US from elsewhere, more and more countries are working hard to make sure their internet traffic need not travel through the US at all. It’s not just about the spying — though, that is a part of it.

It’s also about a basic competitive advantage. Since the internet has become such an important infrastructure concern, relying on a separate country to make sure that infrastructure remains solvent (especially when that country has actively promoted policies that seem to hinder investment in that infrastructure) doesn’t make much sense. So, while the US gov’t argues over side issues like net neutrality, other countries are making sure that whatever the US does with its internet policy doesn’t impact their ability to make use of a global information network. One of these days, US politicians are going to wake up and realize that while they were arguing over net neutrality and policies concerning telcos and cable companies, other countries built out much stronger internet infrastructure that will allow their economies to profit, while we start playing catchup.

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Comments on “Internet Traffic Routing Around The US”

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Daniel says:

Japan is the size of California. The biggest problem is our biggest strength, and vice versa. Capitalism. While it would be great to continue our lead in the internet, the Bottom Line always wins. We have the shareholders to consider and the tax revenue to place on the profits. Some things we get right and other things get left out, this is the art of politics. We were leaders for many years. However providing internet to all people is not a right. Yes it will be added in years to come just like the telephone was, but even that took many years to complete.

So relax. Eventually we will all have the same overpriced, overtaxed, underpowered internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


I think the future will show you that only by means of being the innovator will you be at the front of the race.

What is seen in this article is similar to no one wanting US produced vehicles because they just can’t compete.

What baffles me however is the success of the IPod and why this isn’t solid proof that if a company makes a solid product people will pay.

Josh says:

nto surprising considering

You should also consider the considerable security holes all the spying creates on our network. Perhaps these counries are concerned not just about the US but the other countries that are hacking into our spy-enabled back doors. An article in the post by susan landau descibes this well.


Allen (profile) says:

Is this Fark?

Here we have the antithesis to the view that traditional media equates to quality reporting.

The NY times confidently reports that a process that has been under way since the birth of the commercial internet is some new trend. And of course national security is at risk!

Sovereignty issues over who controls the internet were a factor in the development of peering between networks within the European Region and separately within the Asian Region last decade. But so was cost.

Historically the massive trans-atlatic and trans US capacity over supply made it cheaper for Asia and European networks to exchange traffic via the USA, but now that demand is beginning to catch up with supply it again starts to make economic sense to look at direct European- Asian connections. In building these cables it starts to make sense to land more of them in the middle east.

This isnt about fear of interception, its economics.

China, Japan, less reliant on the US? Actually pick any country with English as a second language and I think you will find demand for local content in the local language is primarily driven by consumer demand.

I could go on, but my lunch hour’s over.

When a US reporter interviews a bunch of US “experts” (taking Vint Cerf’s comments out of context) and then concludes that foreign networks are making investment decisions based upon US conditions rather than their own economics… I’m sorry, it’s not news, it’s Fark.

Oh, and I suppose I should say something about what Mike wrote. I agree that politicians out side of the US do view investment in infrastructure as important to their economic development. I just don’t think that this has much to do with what is or isn’t happening in the US.

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