Trump Administration Forces Facebook and Google To Drop Hong Kong Cable

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google and Facebook have withdrawn plans to build an undersea cable between the United States and Hong Kong after the Trump administration raised national security concerns about the proposal. On Thursday, the companies submitted a revised plan that bypasses Hong Kong but includes links to Taiwan and the Philippines that were part of the original proposal. One of the original project’s partners, Hong Kong company Pacific Light Data Communication, has been dropped.

Federal law requires a license from the Federal Communications Commission to build an undersea cable connecting the United States with a foreign country. When Google and Facebook submitted their application for an undersea cable connecting the US to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, a committee of federal agencies led by the Justice Department recommended against approving the connection to Hong Kong, citing the “current national security environment.” The Trump administration cited “the [People’s Republic of China] government’s sustained efforts to acquire the sensitive personal data of millions of U.S. persons” as a reason to deny the application. The proposed cable’s “high capacity and low latency would encourage U.S. communications traffic crossing the Pacific to detour through Hong Kong before reaching intended destinations in other parts of the Asia Pacific region,” the government argued.

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