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Brazil is studying ways to bypass US-based internet services following revelations that Washington had conducted widespread surveillance of e-mails and phone calls made by its citizens, companies, as well as foreigners in the country.
Brazil, along with most Central and South American countries, routes its internet traffic through the Network Access Point, which is hosted in Miami, Florida.
But in recent days, Brazilian officials have refocused emphasis on construction of the BRICS Cable, an underwater fibre-optic link with two endpoints in Fortaleza, Brazil and Vladivostok, Russia, and a connection from the former to Miami.
By the time it is completed, the BRICS Cable will be the third longest undersea telecommunications cable in the world, covering a distance of 34,000km.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa currently use hubs in Europe and the US to connect to one another, which translates into higher costs and leaves open the opportunity for data interception and theft.
The new cable, comprising 2-fibre pair 12.8 Terabit per-second capacity Fibre optic cable system is BRICS’s greatest strategic investment for member countries and is expected to enhance technology sharing, boost trade and facilitate financial transactions.
The scope of strengthened trade, transactions and exchange of ideas between Africa and BRICS is virtually limitless; this has been South Africa’s ambition – to become a necessary gateway between it BRICS and the continent.
The Cable will be of particular importance to emerging economies seeking to tap into newer developed markets.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is also pushing new legislation that would seek to force Google, Facebook and other internet companies to store locally gathered data inside Brazil. The new legislation would force foreign-based internet companies to maintain data centres inside Brazil that would then be governed by Brazilian privacy laws, officials said.
Rousseff earlier in the week cited the US spying regimen as unacceptable, and postponed an official visit to the US originally scheduled for October 23.
“The illegal practices of intercepting the communications and data of citizens, companies and members of the Brazilian government constitute a serious act against national sovereignty and individual rights, and incompatible with the democratic coexistence of friendly countries,” a presidential statement said.