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United States Networking The Internet

US No Longer the World's Internet Hub 433

Posted by Soulskill
from the couldn't-last-forever dept.
museumpeace brings us a New York Times story about how internet traffic is increasingly flowing around the US as web-based industries catch up in other parts of the world. Other issues, such as the Patriot Act, have made foreign companies wary about having their data on US servers. From the NYTimes: "Internet industry executives and government officials have acknowledged that Internet traffic passing through the switching equipment of companies based in the United States has proved a distinct advantage for American intelligence agencies. In December 2005, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had established a program with the cooperation of American telecommunications firms that included the interception of foreign Internet communications. Some Internet technologists and privacy advocates say those actions and other government policies may be hastening the shift in Canadian and European traffic away from the United States."
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US No Longer the World's Internet Hub

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  • No surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:24AM (#24810459)

    Americans would also be up in arms if most of their traffic was routed through China.

    • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:23PM (#24811685) Journal

      The internet is a redundant fault tolerant network. It routes around damage. Censorship is damage. Monitoring is damage. Theft of the commons by rights holders is damage. What did they think was going to happen?

      • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ravenshrike (808508) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:57PM (#24812521)
        Ironically, the fact that the information never actually hits US-based networks makes it vastly more legal for our intelligence agencies to intercept.
      • by Zombie (8332) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @02:27PM (#24812733) Homepage
        Yep, and now the Internet routes around brain damage.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Stanislav_J (947290)

          Yep, and now the Internet routes around brain damage.

          Really? I thought it ran on brain damage...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iminplaya (723125)

        The internet is a redundant fault tolerant network. It routes around damage.

        Yeah, well how do it route around the ISP that cuts off my service? Or the occasional boat anchor that cuts the cable?

    • Re:No surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spazdor (902907) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:48PM (#24811951)

      I cannot believe no one has yet mentioned Gilmore's [toad.com] postulate:

      The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

      The potential for exposure of Internet traffic to US snooping creates a a very powerful regulatory force against a particular class of speech on the Internet. So the Internet follows the above rule, grows away from us, and very soon we're at the edge of the network.

      Hopefully we'll bounce back once end-to-end encryption is ubiquitous for all Internet protocols and the whole point is moot. (Which will be pretty soon, thanks to a technological arms race being prosecuted by our reigning copyright regime!)

      Incidentally, the recently published BGP flaw suggests that China could be routing our traffic through their servers almost undetectably at any time.

  • Good Riddance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:26AM (#24810471) Homepage Journal

    The Internet isn't supposed to have a "hub". It's supposed to be completely distributed and decentralized.

    Besides, why should the US carry all the rest of the world's traffic? The world is a globe, which doesn't have a center. Why should Europe / East Asia connections pass through the US? Let them build their share of the interconnects. They've got way more people, and we need all our bandwidth for ourselves, just like anyone else.

    The US invented the Internet. We should be exporting equipment and expertise, so the rest of the world can do business with us (and with each other our way), and get paid right to do it.

    • by emandres (857332) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:28AM (#24810511)
      I'm pretty sure the world has a center... but it'd be a heck of a feat trying to cool that server farm.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:39AM (#24810667)
        Aha! So that's what Al Gore was proving with global warming! That the world's servers are overheating.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:40AM (#24810669) Homepage Journal

        The Earth has a center, because it is a sphere. But no one lives outside a small band +/- 400m from the surface, so "the world" is a shell that has no center.

        No one except the Mole Men, and they've got their own Internet. Which is really more an "Infranet", but that's their problem.

        • by corsec67 (627446) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:02AM (#24810889) Homepage Journal

          So you are saying I could leave the world by going up or down?

          Hmm, I think there are religions based on that...

        • Re:Good Riddance (Score:5, Informative)

          by phoenixwade (997892) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:08AM (#24810957)

          The Earth has a center, because it is a sphere. But no one lives outside a small band +/- 400m from the surface, so "the world" is a shell that has no center.

          No one except the Mole Men, and they've got their own Internet. Which is really more an "Infranet", but that's their problem.

          There are large population centers [wikipedia.org] more than 400m above sealevel (more than twice that, actually). Plus there are people in the dead sea [wikipedia.org] which is 420 meters below sea level.

          And that's before we start counting the people living on the ISS, the people living in the salt mine city [wikipedia.org], Atlantians (Deeper or Higher than 400m depending on who you talk to) or the mole men.....

          • Re:Good Riddance (Score:4, Informative)

            by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:17AM (#24811051) Homepage Journal

            "Sealevel" is "the surface" only at sea. There's practically no one living 400m above or below the actual surface of the sea.

            The rest of the world lives within 400m of the surface, even if that surface is a mile above "sealevel".

            And the ones outside that narrow shell aren't on the Internet. Except for a tiny few in another shell inhabited briefly by airplanes, and another orbital shell inhabited by fewer people than the sampling margin of error.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Sentry21 (8183)

              Uh, by that logic everyone lives at 0m from 'the surface', give or take the height of their apartment building.

              Sea level is the only reasonable baseline we have, so nitpicking people for using it is just being a pedant.

    • Re:Good Riddance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:02AM (#24810887) Homepage

      Might be, but still there are bound to be hubs, peer points, data exchanges in places where traffic is centralized, e.g. at points where transcontinental cables go through the sea, etc.

      I think the protocol is decentralized, but the fysical connections cannot be.

      You can hardly connect each and every computer on the globe directly, can you?

      I know, for example, that one of the longest or maybe the longest direct connection goes from somewhere in Germany straight through to Japan, some 40.000 kilometres.

      • Re:Good Riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:20AM (#24811107) Homepage Journal

        Of course there are Internet "hubs". I've got several of them right there in my office LAN. But that's different from something being "the" hub.

        The Internet is so diverse and capable of so much decentralization that it even includes lots of hubs. But that's different from the majority of the world's traffic going through a single country that isn't at an endpoint. The US being "the world's Internet hub" was a temporary historical artifact, at odds with actual Internet architecture once the Internet was truly global, and not just "the USA's extranet".

    • The world is a globe, which doesn't have a center.

      I'm lost.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:50AM (#24811417)

      "The Internet isn't supposed to have a "hub". It's supposed to be completely distributed and decentralized."

      True. However, you missed the most important point. Because of "intelligence" agency surveillance in the U.S., commerce in the U.S. is no longer safe. So companies are taking their business elsewhere.

      It's not just internet traffic. Software from the U.S. cannot be trusted. All of the U.S. government's many secret departments believe that they can a) order executives of companies that do business in the U.S. to provide any help they want so that they can accomplish surveillance, and b) put the executives in prison if they reveal the corruption. So, any software that has ever been under U.S. control, or has been corrupted by the U.S. government, cannot be trusted.

      Often employees of U.S. government secret departments take jobs in commercial companies, and pretend to be normal employees, while serving illegal purposes of the secret departments. So even companies in other countries cannot be trusted to be free of corrupt surveillance, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

      It's not like any of that is a big secret. There are plenty of books and articles about U.S. government surveillance. However, most people in the U.S. just don't want to believe the level of corruption.

      • by zogger (617870) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:15PM (#24812193) Homepage Journal

        It works both ways. You don't think, take for example China (although I think it would apply to most foreign nations), that all those students and business people in the US from there don't grab as much tech and data as they can get and transfer it back home?

        The bottom line is everyone spies on everyone else. Even so called "allies" spy on each other. Then you have pure outside of government corporate espionage. Then you have "free lance" spies and crackers who find data and sell it to whomever will give them the most for it.

        Ha! It's big business, the economy might collapse without it! snicker

        Anyway, them foreign folks thinking they will be safer because they host someplace else..uh huh. That's a nice *theory* I guess....The US gets a lot of press because it is a big dog nation, that doesn't mean all these other nations don't try just as hard with the resources and access they have. Their various citizenry may want to *believe* they aren't being spied on, that's about it.

        All governments and big corporations go corrupt, just the way it goes, too much power and money to be made.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HangingChad (677530)

        Because of "intelligence" agency surveillance in the U.S., commerce in the U.S. is no longer safe. So companies are taking their business elsewhere.

        I think it's even more basic than that. If you act like a dick, your friends start to avoid you. Claim the right to snoop any data you want without due process and organizations will route around you or encrypt their traffic.

        In the old days other countries could count on the US to do the right thing and play by the rules. Since we've thrown the rule book

    • Re:Good Riddance (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:17PM (#24811617)

      The Internet isn't supposed to have a "hub". It's supposed to be completely distributed and decentralized.

      I guess there is a good deal of cost-cutting and laziness involved in not having more independent connections. Most German providers, for instance, route their traffic through the DE-CIX node in Frankfurt instead of maintaining a dozen peer links.

      This said, at some point it must be cheaper to have direct connections than buying capacity on a detour over the US. Especially where overseas cable are involved. A Google search brought up the following maps for the IPV6 net, and it seems that the countries outside the US do indeed build their own connections:
      ahref=http://ipv6.nlsde.buaa.edu.cn/rel=url2html-19746 [slashdot.org]http://ipv6.nlsde.buaa.edu.cn/>

  • Internet traffic passing through the switching equipment of companies based in the United States has proved a distinct advantage for American intelligence agencies

    He, who would rather be helping Russian or Chinese agencies, really ought to sleep in the bed they are making for themselves...

    • by theM_xl (760570)

      That *might* have been semi-reassuring say, ten years ago.

    • by LordKaT (619540) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:35AM (#24810613) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, because American intelligence agencies have morals!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)

        Yeah, because American intelligence agencies have morals!

        No, but they are under some sort of civillian political control. In Russia and China intelligence agencies control YOU (If YOU=the civillian politicians). US intelligence agencies are actually controlled by the law whereas in Russia or China they operate completely outside it.

        But I'm sure loads of Americans will now tell me that the US is as bad or worse than countries that do this

        http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1834474,00.html [time.com]

        70 something Beijing residents get their house taken away by politi

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:30AM (#24810525)
    Other countries wouldn't have a problem with routing their traffic through the United States if we had good public relations...

    "For every packet your country sends through the U.S., you will automatically be entered in a drawing for one of your citizens to win an all-expenses paid trip to exotic, sunny Cuba!"

    That would get them excited!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pablomme (1270790)

      "For every packet your country sends through the U.S., you will automatically be entered in a drawing for one of your citizens to win an all-expenses paid trip to exotic, sunny Cuba!"

      "And depending on the packet's contents, participants may qualify for accommodation in our luxury Guantanamo Bay resort."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elynnia (815633)
        Back in 1993, John Gilmore famously quoted that:
        "The 'net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

        And fifteen years later, we're seeing it in action. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        Aly.

    • by mdm42 (244204)

      I'm pretty sure I di get that email. Very pleasant sound message.

      "Your packets have recently been sighted in Langley, VA. We value your loyal custom so esteemedly. According you have won our GRAND PRIZE of $250000000000...."

      Now I just have to figure out how to get them that $1000 processing fee and I'll be set for life!

    • by ari{Dal} (68669)

      I'm actually heading to Cuba for Christmas, though avoiding the small American part of it. Havana and Varadero are definitely destinations to get excited about.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:30AM (#24810537) Homepage
    to stop this harmful globalization of our internet. i mean, its america where the tubes are and it needs to stay that way. globalization of the internet harms our way of life, and the future of our children.

    why, just last week a boy in arkansas was forced to GeoIP his way to a foreign server so he could has cheezburger. what next? rich icons like goatse and the fat lightsaber guy? but only in that weird numa numa language? the mustard man hosted in russia?
  • I'm glad! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:34AM (#24810583)
    The complete and utter arrogance of our Government and it's treatment of, not only us, but the rest of the World is starting to bite us in the ass. Not only with our Government's attitude with tapping the internet but also with our perceived superiority in space. We are no longer the leaders in space technology thanks to our Government. Other countries have workarounds to our technology because it was too much of a pain to do business with American firms. [economist.com] All because our Government believes that we have a monopoly on technology and smart people.

    See, our paranoia and fear is now hurting our economy. And as a result it's hastening our decline. Maybe this will be a wake up call to the powers that be.

    • I got the information that broadband is a mess in the Us, do you think that is true?

    • Excellent post ! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by golodh (893453) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#24811521)
      This particular issue had slipped my mind, but the parent post and the article cited there bring it back into focus.

      US export regulations have a way of being over-broad, just for the ease of legislating. As the Rather than protecting one or two key components, the export regulations tend to protect an entire assembly.

      To quote from the article referenced by the parent post (http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11965352): "IN THE spring of 2006 Robert Bigelow needed to take a stand on a trip to Russia to keep a satellite off the floor. The stand was made of aluminium. It had a circular base and legs. It was, says the entrepreneur and head of Bigelow Aerospace in Nevada, "indistinguishable from a common coffee table". Nonetheless, the American authorities told Mr Bigelow that this coffee table was part of a satellite assembly and so counted as a munition. During the trip it would have to be guarded by two security officers at all times."

      If that sounds a bit off-center, then perhaps I might add a personal anecdote. In the 1980's I corresponded with someone in a Dutch consultancy. Their company had just won a contract from some Dutch ministry to move a lot of data and Fortran software from a mainframe to a PC environment. They had figured to dump the lot on tape, get the tape to their offices, and then read the tape using a 9-track tape drive connected to a PC on their LAN, recompile the Fortran code on PC, and process the data on PC.

      They had (accurately) budgeted for the purchase of a 9-track tape drive and needed one in a hurry. I was asked for a name of good a US manufacturer (they didn't even consider any other source) of 9-track tapes, which I found in 10 minutes and gave to them. So far so good.

      That's when the trouble started.

      They were careful people and actually phoned the US embassy in The Netherlands to see if they could just order that tape drive, and what the import/export formalities would be. It's well that they did, because, yes, there were some difficulties. Just the formality of an export license. Asked how to obtain one, the embassy responded that not they, but the manufacturer would have to get the license. And that it would take anywhere between 3-4 months to process the paperwork.

      Yes, that's right. In order to export a 9-track tape drive to The Netherlands in the nineteen eighties (NATO partner and all) there would be a 3-4 month wait while the paperwork cleared!

      Well ... that wasn't an option for them, since the deadline on their contract was only 6 months away. So they went and bought another make. I believe it was Japanese. Or French. Which was duly bought and installed in their offices two weeks later. They successfully completed the move too and delighted the ministry they were working for by much quicker turnaround times (on high-end PCs; the software being CPU-bound) at a fraction of the cost they would incur on the mainframe.

      But in the mean time the US Inc. lost an order for a rather ordinary and fairly innocuous 9-track tape drive, which could be second-sourced on the open market within a week or so, while starting off as the *only* name on the shortlist. And all because of some well-intentioned but rather inept export regulations.

  • Thanks, washington (Score:5, Interesting)

    by merreborn (853723) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:34AM (#24810595) Journal

    Thanks, Washington. Between the patriot act and the DMCA, you've managed to legislate one of the few booming industries we had out of the country.

    Used to be, there were four things we did better than anyone else:
    music
    movies
    microcode
    high-speed pizza delivery

    You're really trying to cross things off that list as fast as you can, aren't you?

    • by Inglix the Mad (576601) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:38AM (#24810649)
      Well, truth be told, those people in Washington are elected. Perhaps people should look in the mirror and if they've voted for President Bush or anyone, and I mean ANYONE, that has voted for the UN-Patriot Acts I & II, the DMCA, et al., seriously consider educating themselves before voting this time. Of course that won't happen.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Umm, newsflash, politicians in the US generally vote on more then a couple of things a term. Demanding that everybody be voted out of office for one or two bad votes is demanding a lot.

        Sure some of them like the Patriot act and DMCA are pretty, incredibly huge, but they are only a very small portion of the total number of bills that are mooted or actually voted on.

        Not to mention the fact that apart from the Patriot act, the vast majority of bills get changed during the process of bringing them to a vote.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      I would say the British were better at music, but maybe I'm just biased.

    • by CaptainTux (658655) <papillion@gmail.com> on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:56AM (#24810835) Homepage Journal

      high-speed pizza delivery

      And that whole pizza delivery thing will be gone as soon as we start hearing someone answering the phone as

      Thank you for calling Domino's Pizza. This is Agent Jentson speaking, how can I help you?"

    • I always felt that India had better movies, but maybe I'm just biased.
      Who can resist the talent of giants like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.
      Bollywood rules!

  • Over time the Internet will turn into islands of privacy and security, in a sea of spam, surveillance, and people who at one time would have used AOL.

    • by Joebert (946227) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:45AM (#24810721) Homepage
      Someone left a few Yahoo Internet Life Mags [ozzu.com] from 1998 on my chair yesterday. There was a predictions for 1998 section in the January issue with some similar thoughts.

      Penn Jillette (Penn and Teller), 1998

      We will continue to be told that freedom is a bad idea. The Net will be blamed for more kiddie porn, terrorism, and loss of privacy. those who remember that these things predate home computers (and maybe even pong) will get blue in the face to keep the future getting better.

      Emmanuel goldstien (Publisher of 2600 magazine), 1998

      The net will continue to grow, and so will the conflicts -- 12 year olds will battle multi-national corporations, Net Nazis will fight hackers, Governments will have it out with activists. For a time, the wide-open environment of the net will force opposing sides to listen to each-other. Once they all get tired of that, the Net will factionize and break apart so that, similar to TV, we never have to deal with things that disturb us or make us think too much. we'll have the Military Net, the childrens Net, the black net, the white Net, and so on. the days where we actually had to listen to our enemies will become a memory, and finally a myth.

      • by jav1231 (539129)
        The problem is we don't have to listen to our enemies now. Look at how polarized the U.S. is politically. The Net isn't bringing people together to learn from each other, it's simply coagulating particles that are attracted to each other. In a sense, it's like a big grid game. We're all building barracks', amassing 'troops', and gathering money.
    • Secure islands? How does it work?

      • by pieterh (196118)

        Secure island = set of applications distributed across the Internet that communicate using secure protocols. A lot of these exist already, small and large communities that are behind logins or stronger security, and which could be hosted outside the USA if their users made enough fuss about privacy.

        • Which would be the best location for these islands? Europe?

          How do the islands correspond to the cloud computing concept.

          • by pieterh (196118) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:36AM (#24811277) Homepage

            If the servers are already accessed via strong encryption the location is not very relevant unless the jurisdiction bans such encryption. The main danger to such communities is then the seizure of their equipment by local authorities, on the basis of one or other real or imagined infraction (child pornography, terrorism, patent infringement, copyright infringement, hate crimes, etc.)

            I'm not sure Europe is better than the USA in terms of freedom from such seizures. There are surely better locations.

            Cloud computing... is a buzzword but is interesting nonetheless. Over time we may see secure or private clouds, which would then correspond to these islands, and which might become fully independent of vulnerable physical servers.

            So we may have a future of virtualized, distributed, secure islands connected by a sea of insecurity.

            But then again, it's late on a hot Saturday afternnon here in Brussels and it's beer o'clock. :-)

            • Traffic analysis without cracking crypto is a huge and valuable source of intelligence. Knowing who's talking to whom is something spies really want to know, and it's something the people talking would often hate to have revealed. For a small-scale, down to earth example, look at the HP pretexting scandal.

  • Free Market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Snowman (116231) * on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:36AM (#24810623) Homepage

    This is a free market at its best. The United States provides a poor service (allow us to carry your data, and we will spy on it), so foreign telecomms decide the better value is not to route traffic through the United States. Our own laws that promote spying, snooping, invasion of privacy, and generally going against the spirit of the Constitution (I say spirit because it does not apply to foreign citizens in most cases) will be used against us. Other nations will decide that we are increasingly irrelevant: our dollar is on a trend of weakening against foreign currencies due to the massive trade deficit which in turn puts our balls squarely in the hands of countries such as China. This weakens our clout in international markets. This story is just one facet of the weakening of the United States as a superpower and our downward slide into becoming a third-world country. Our politicians and corporate executives are so concerned about maintaining their wealth that they are willing to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    No, I am not cynical. I am also not sarcastic.

  • general trend (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:36AM (#24810627)

    Not only is the data traffic going around the USA, the flow of passengers in airplanes should also follow that trend because of those interesting "hand over the laptop" policies.

    It seems ironic to me that the USA government is moving towards a more controlled (shall we say police state?) environment while focusing everyone's attention on other countries (i.e. China) while claiming that those guys are in fact way worse in terms of privacy issues.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)
      Welcome to the wonderful of politics, where politicians turn out to be an awful lot like what they seem the most after. I.e. Elliot Spitzer the anti-prostitution governor who gets caught with hookers, Larry Craig the homophobic senator who turns out to solicit gay sex, and so on.. So yeah, no surprise that someone in that middle should be just like who they're pointing they're finger to, that's pretty much how it works. The witch hunter tends to turn out to be the one witch.
  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:47AM (#24810755)
    Welcome to America, the Land of the Free! Err.. scratch that.. Welcome to America.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by blether (817276)
      "Land of the free and the home of the brave." This has never been true. The slaves weren't free and the braves were slaughtered. "Land of the willing propaganda swallowers" would have been closer to the mark.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Please, like other nations were any better. I mean hell, the British were the main instigators of the slave trade in the first place.

        To suggest such a thing is pretty arrogant and tends to ignore the fact that even now we in the US are more free than many other parts of the world.

        Try using ones first amendment rights in most parts of the EU could very well get you in some serious trouble.

  • It doesn't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainTux (658655) <papillion@gmail.com> on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:51AM (#24810791) Homepage Journal

    In the long run, I don't think it matters that some countries are routing traffic around the United States. The truth of the matter is simply that the U.S. intelligence agencies will find new ways to get the data by either covertly installing monitoring and capture equipment in the countries of interests or by strong-arming those governments to send traffic our way. Yes, I realize that governments don't centrally control most internet hubs in most countries but you can bet that when money or other aide is at risk, they'll find a way to make it happen.

    • Not really knowing network technology as in depth as some around here.... is there a way to ensure your IP traffic doesn't pass through the United States? If I wanted to email someone in Brazil from Canada, is there a way I could explicitly route my email message around the U.S.A? Or is all this talk just that, for the little guy?
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:52AM (#24810801)

    don't spy on the communications in and out of their countries? The US does not have a monopoly on signals intelligence. This is one of those issues where any country that has any sig int capabilities are using it to monitor the tubes.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:49AM (#24811407)
      They don't have laws against it that the break in order to do it. It's the lack of order that causes problems. The USA claimes to be rule-driven, but then breaks its own rules. Other countries, like China are easier to operate in. They have no real rules, and if you fall on the wrong side of one, you pay someone off and everything is ok. The US has some twisted concerns about bribery (it's legal if you call it a "contribution" but not if you fail to report it, and we outlaw a non-US citizen bribing someone in a foreign country as a regular necessary part of operating in that country). So we just don't get it sometimes. But even China can be easier to operate aa business in than the USA.
  • by gunne (14408) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @10:57AM (#24810843) Homepage

    Thank God!

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:02AM (#24810895) Homepage

    Every time the U.S. acts to abuse its position of relevance in the world, the world will take steps to make the U.S. less relevant. The U.S. has had major controls over the communications across the world and that is changing. The U.S. has major controls and influence over the price and flow of oil in the world and that too is changing with China buying up major influence in the middle east and in Africa. The banking systems are controlled by some elite individuals that even the U.S. cannot claim 'ownership' of but it won't be long before even those entities are displaced as they abuse the governments and citizens of the world.

  • eh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:03AM (#24810899) Homepage
    The thing about the Patriot Act is (theoretically at least), the US government needed it to give them permission to do certain things. In a lot (most?) of countries such an act would be unnecessary because the government already feels free to do whatever it wants. Does anyone actually think China, or Russia, or the UK won't be doing the same thing, just not as openly? I mean, you could maybe make an argument that some of the more enlightened Scandinavian countries may be trusted to put human rights above paranoia, but it's a very small group.
  • by ObiWonKanblomi (320618) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:08AM (#24810963) Journal

    Other issues, such as the Patriot Act, have made foreign companies wary about having their data on US servers.

    No. Other forces such as wanting increase profit margins are probably having a bigger influence.

    WRT legislation, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [wikipedia.org] has probably had a greater impact on influencing companies on their move. Provisions within S-OX require companies to provide access to data to allow for full data audits. That would include emails, internal reports, etc.

  • by EWAdams (953502) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:09AM (#24810967) Homepage
    ... is that it's supposed to be redundant and fault-tolerant -- where "fault" includes people trying to sabotage it either physically by cutting wires, or virtually through censorship and spying. The more different routes there are, the better.
  • Better idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2008 @11:14AM (#24811021)
    How about we have an international network that is completely free from politics and that politicians can't touch?
  • The internet is supposed to be global, so having the traffic spread out is a good idea anyway. I'm all for having major "hubs" all across the world. Of course US would go "big brother" on the data that flows through it, not surprised. I'm pretty sure other countries do the same, but it's not advertised. Unless you have something to hide, who cares? Right? :)
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @12:34PM (#24811805)
    Just like the STUPID encryption export laws a few years ago, that prevented U.S. companies from competing internationally, and did not slow down foreign research one whit.

    We MUST get our government to KNOCK OFF THE BULLSHIT, because it is hurting us a great deal. Both in domestic freedom, and in our opportunities to compete internationally.
  • Good job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:09PM (#24812125) Homepage Journal

    Way to piss away our competitive advantage. Maybe if we stop the 2-party system I might actually still have a job in 30 years. Doubtful that will happen though.

  • Just A thought. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:27PM (#24812299)
    What if the rest of the world bypassed and then disconnected the United States from the Internet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      What if the rest of the world bypassed and then disconnected the United States from the Internet.

      Most Americans wouldn't notice.

      -Grey [silverclipboard.com]

  • by servognome (738846) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:46PM (#24812437)
    Seems like everybody instantly is attaching their personal political interpretation of the data. The article was about the difficulties intelligence agencies face as traffic shifts, not that the agencies are the primary reason for the shift.
    While security of data plays a small role, economics is playing a larger role. FTFA

    International networks that carry data into and out of the United States are still being expanded at a sharp rate, but the Internet infrastructure in many other regions of the world is growing even more quickly.

    The traffic in and out of the US isn't going down, it's still climbing. As countries develop around the world, it makes economic sense that they would develop their own intraregional connections. China is natrually going to build more tubes to it's developing regional trade partners. You have a situation where there is more global communication being generated elsewhere, which results in a reduction in the % of traffic through the US.

    This is less about security policy, and more about the reduced economic reliance on the US.

  • by Zackbass (457384) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @01:55PM (#24812499)

    Does anyone else here think this has more to do with the fact that the US isn't the center of the technological world any more? Earth is a big, big place and the United States is a small part of it, why should we expect to be the Internet's hub in any case? Isn't it a lot more plausible that routes that don't go through the US are preferred because they're better?

  • by rbrander (73222) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @05:04PM (#24813721) Homepage

    Nobody's mentioned "FOIP" yet. The "Freedom of Information and Privacy" Act in Canada is both an FOI act when it comes to forcing the government (and some private companies) to reveal all non-classified information upon request, and a privacy-enforcement act that requires government and private business alike to safeguard any personal information for which they are custodian.

    I work for a municipal government in Canada, and I have explicitly heard, from IT management in meetings, that we cannot give any contracts for data entry, data storage, data reduction and analysis, etc, to American firms, since the Patriot Act. This only applies to data classified a "private" under the FOIP rules, but here's the rub: the really simple way to handle some large data sets is to just duplicate the whole thing, all the tables. Going over them all to determine the FOIP status of every column and carefully remove, say, any column for "phone number" of your own staff or your customers, is a pain.

    What's not a pain is going to a Canadian firm, having them sign a boilerplate FOIP-compliant privacy protection agreement. Various other countries with privacy legislation can be dealt with as well. Americans, alas, must hand over any and all data that the justice system asks for under the Patriot Act, so we can't give them the work.

    I haven't heard of us going so far as to avoid transmission of FOIP-covered data through any network that will go through the USA, but after the FISA bill, I would say it's merely a matter of time.

  • Another Loss..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday August 30, 2008 @06:13PM (#24814167)

    I woder why:

    No company wants to have to deal with:

    1) The Patriot Act
    2) Ass-rape happy ISPs
    3) ADA laws
    4) Liability
    5) And those slimy bastard who think they should have every right to snoop through our private business and keep the rest of us out of theirs

    Jesus Christ! Does it really take a genius to realize that brainless legislators and greedy proviser have cost us in the U.S. *ANOTHER* #1 spot?!?!?!

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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