BRICS has a big surprise in store for the United States and the rest of the world. The grouping plans to launch an alternative Internet in 2015, according to Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. A 34,000-kilometre cable (a two fibre pair with a 12.8 Tbit/s capacity) will run from Vladivostok, Russia to Fortaleza, Brazil, via Shantou, China, Chennai, India and Cape Town, South Africa. The project is currently in its final phase of implementation.

 REX asks members of the intelligentsia whether such an alternative is necessary and whether it can be useful

Kirill Myamlin, Publicist

“Dilma Rousseff took this historical step in the wake of Snowden’s revelations about espionage activities by the National Security Agency. The NSA allegedly spied on Brazilian oil company Petrobras by tapping into its communications channel. The NSA was also reported to have been spying on Rousseff herself and other Brazilian users, who entrusted their personal data to American Internet giants, such as Facebook and Google.

No provocations and attempts to have new revolutionary ‘Spring’ or ‘colour’ revolutions in the Middle East, Russia or Brazil will ever be able to prevent installation of the new cable.

American ‘experts’ call the decision by the Brazilian leader to divorce from the US-centric Internet ‘potentially dangerous,’ as it could be the first step towards fragmentation of the global network, an alternative that would be created with minimum interference from governments and with no interference from the US government whatsoever.”

 Michael Dorfman, writer (New York)

“They haven’t been paying too much attention to this report in America, unlike the news about the Soviet Sputnik, which scared the United States back in the day.

Any alternative would be a positive thing. The more choice you have, the better. Yet no-one can say for sure whether this new Internet will be safer than its US counterpart and will be able to protect the rights of regular users, including the privacy of personal data and free access to resources, more effectively.

Sooner or later, we’ll have a multi-polar world and the US will lose its monopolies not only on the Internet but also the financial and military ones. This won’t come as a surprise, but will take 25 or 30 years.

Yet there is another thing impeding efforts to do away with the US monopoly. The USSR was once regarded as the second motherland for all workers, whereas America is the second motherland for the neo-liberal, free-market corporate and bureaucratic elites of the entire world: America is their protector and patron. They only need to play by its rules to enjoy its patronage, have their money hidden here, have their children taught and employed here, and have a safe haven here once they retire”

Yury Yuryev, Political engineer

“It is worth trying this alternative because, despite the antitrust regulations, the US-centric Internet has essentially become a monopoly enabling the authorities to control users’ rights and privileges. However many alternatives you have, there will always be someone interested in them as long as they wish to keep their data from the US authorities and corporations. Furthermore, the entire planet is ‘pegged’ to the US technological base and, in order to create an alternative one, new channels are called for.”

Alexander Khurshudov, Oil and Gas policy expert, PhD in technical sciences

“This means that Snowden’s revelations didn’t really come as a wake-up call to any of the major states. They must have been aware that the US intelligence service would eventually break into the American network companies. Yet any action will sooner or later cause a reaction, especially such impertinent actions as those of the United States.”

 Kirill Svetitsky, Journalist and psychologist

“I guess the translators of the article ‘The BRICS Independent Internet Cable: In Defiance of the US-Centric Internet’ have misinterpreted the facts. The article is on the BRICS’s own Internet cable, rather than an alternative Internet project.” 

First published in Russian in REX Agency.