US wants undersea data cable to skip Hong Kong

SAN FRANCISCO: US Justice Department officials on Wednesday (Jun 17) recommended that a high-capacity undersea data cable system proposed by Google and Facebook bypass Hong Kong, citing potential national security concerns following China's moves to exert greater control in the territory.

The Pacific Light Cable Network pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission should connect the US, Taiwan, and the Philippines as planned but go through Hong Kong as planned, a Justice Department committee recommended.

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READ: US revokes Hong Kong special status as anger grows over China law

The high-capacity, low-latency fiber optic cable backed by Google and Facebook would "encourage" US communications crossing the Pacific Ocean to land in Hong Kong before continuing on to other parts of Asia, the DoJ reasoned.

The recommendation to the FCC contended that the cable network's "proposed Hong Kong landing station would expose US communications traffic to collection" by Beijing.

The concerns have been heightened by the Chinese government's "recent actions to remove Hong Kong's autonomy and allow for the possibility that (Beijing's) intelligence and security services will operate openly in Hong Kong," the DoJ said in a release.

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Google and Facebook four years ago announced plans to work with a China Soft Power Holdings subsidiary to connect Los Angeles and Hong Kong with a high-capacity Internet cable.

The Pacific Light Cable Network was to stretch 12,800km, crossing beneath the Pacific Ocean in a first-of-its-kind direct connection betweeRead More – Source