Their fibres are radioactive.

It’s been a bit All Snowden, All The Time on this blog. I think it makes sense to read the story as a European one, though. Here’s a little more. From Snowden Part One:

Snowden: As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances. Their fibers are radioactive, and even the Queen’s selfies to the pool boy get logged.

This got remarkably little attention in the UK but it ought to have done. The southern UK is an enormous centre of telecoms infrastructure, especially in terms of peering and interconnection. There is just so much hard infrastructure in the ground that it’s not practical for this stuff to leave for some time. But some time only goes for some time. Amsterdam, for example, is already home to AMS-IX, an Internet exchange as big as LINX. Paris doesn’t have a serious IX for some reason, although there is a lot of fibre and that could change.

The real keys to the Internet economy are peering points and data centres. We would be horrified if someone with a global platform was to suggest blacklisting aircraft or ships that call in the UK. We should be similarly concerned about the long term costs of all this interception, especially as it didn’t keep us out of Iraq or provide useful information about Helmand before the Army went in.

5 thoughts on “Their fibres are radioactive.

  1. You’re invited to view the music video about Edward Snowden and NSA:
    It is our hope that the “Every Call You Make” song will become widely known to those who earnestly desire to help Edward Snowden oppose the NSA surveillance activities.
    A hurried narration about the origin of the “Every Call You Make” song:
    In late June, the news of Edward’s revelations concerning the National Security Agency was capturing headlines worldwide. While some friends and I were listening to the news anchor telling the breaking story, someone mentioned that they were reminded of the song by ‘Sting’: “Every Breath You Take: I’ll Be Watching You”. Within minutes our conversation began to playfully change the original song lyrics to “Every Call You Make: They Are Watching You!”.
    The following day we obtained the Domain Name of ‘’ to distribute the proposed soundtrack online. Jennifer Vesak volunteered her incredible graphic design talents to create the artwork for the CD cover/sleeve and also the Edward Snowden portrait T-Shirts. A musician volunteered his considerable abilities and we employed the services of a professional music studio to produce the soundtrack CD of “Every Call You Make: They Are Watching You!”
    So, that’s the five week synopsis of events surrounding the ECYM Project. An audio CD is available through ‘’ as well as being available at Online music stores such as iTunes. Amazon, etc…
    Hopefully, (with your help), our little group of ECYM volunteers will help raise public awareness about the emerging surveillance state. More importantly, that we have honored Edward Snowden’s heroic decision to demand a public discussion and citizen consent about our government’s intrusive wiretapping and surveillance apparatus.
    Thank you!
    ECYM Project

  2. Without going into any of the details of this whole sordid business – I am still trying to draw conclusions from some observations by Poul-Henning Kamp and Bruce Schneier -, I really wonder about this Snowden quote: “You should never route through or peer with the UK…”
    I don’t know if I get your drift here, but are you suggesting that the possible set of values for “you” in the minds of people who might be thought of as being in a position to be able to reroute traffic is anything but the empty set?
    Although we just learned that the New Zealanders told the Americans that a sea cable could just as well end in Canada or Mexico as in the U.S…. Still…

  3. Re who you can trust…

    Lavabit, an encrypted email service reportedly used by Ed Snowden recently shut down abruptly. The company decided to terminate operations following a court order that would, in the words of the owner/operator Ladar Levison, have made them “… complicit in crimes against the American people…”

    In a letter posted on the site, Levision offers this caution with respect to private data – “This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

  4. Harrowell’s stuff is always a hoot, but this one is one of his best. We’re supposed to be “horrified” that someone with a global platform advises folks not to peer with the UK?

    Just who do you think makes peering decisions? It’s not the end users, but the ISPs who can program router routing tables.

    And who are the ISPs? They are the very people who have been supplying information to the NSA. And who else might be making some decisions about peering? Could it be the BND who have been in with the NSA up to their ears. Or the German Government, which allowed the BND to get into bed with the NSA while denying all knowledge of the relationship.

    And here is a real gem:

    “We should be similarly concerned about the long term costs of all this interception, especially as it didn’t keep us out of Iraq or provide useful information about Helmand before the Army went in.”

    Say what? The current level of communications surveillance didn’t keep us out of Iraq, so what we need is less of it? Are you quite serious?

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