The administration urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant the company's licenses to send and receive data over the existing Pacific Light Cable Network, which spans 8000 miles (12,875 kilometers).
The United States, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong are all connected by an undersea fiber-optic cable system.
Nearly all the world's internet data traffic is transmitted via submarine cables. Google has requested permission to connect to Taiwan, while Meta has requested permission to use the Philippines-to-United States portion. The companies agreed to safeguard the privacy and security of Americans' personal information, particularly against Chinese intelligence operations. Google and Meta's plan scrapped a previous proposal to use the network's cable to reach Beijing-controlled Hong Kong. Several US government agencies have recommended that the plan be halted in 2020.
Given China's "sustained efforts to gain the sensitive personal data of millions of US persons," the Justice Department said the national security agreements with Google and Meta were necessary.
Google and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Google stated they would require the data connections in 2020 to handle increased traffic between its data centers in Taiwan and the United States.
According to a Meta spokesperson, "The cable system between the United States and the Philippines "increases internet capacity" to "help people stay connected and share content." "According to the company, the cables are secure, and they protect data using advanced encryption. Google and Meta must conduct annual risk assessments of sensitive data, and they must be able to restrict or stop data traffic on the cables within 24 hours, according to the agreements. The internet's backbone comprises around 300 sub-sea cables that carry 99 percent of the world's data.
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