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Brazil is constructing a dedicated underwater cable to link the southern American country's internet directly with Europe and avoid any espionage attempts by the US. The structure, which is estimated to cost up to $250m (£180m), will come into operation in late 2017 and is likely to be supported by tech giants Google and Facebook.
Brazil's Communications Minister André Figueiredo said that nearly a dozen multinational tech giants have shown interest in becoming part of the venture. If the newly-erected submarine cable comes into place, Brazil will be able to entirely avoid the US – which is its primary transfer node for Brazil's internet traffic. The 5,900km-long cable will link Brazil and Portugal directly.
Although the Brazilian minister has said companies including Google and Facebook have shown interest in undertaking the endeavor, the firms are yet to make a formal announcement on the matter. Brazil has been wary of US's mass surveillance methods ever since revelations about the activities of National Security Agency (NSA) emerged through the disclosures of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In 2013, the country, which is also a major economic partner of the US, expressed strong interest to establish a secure data link, following revelations that Washington's intelligence eavesdropped on President Dilma Rousseff's communications.
Speaking in an interview during the Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona, Figueiredo said the cable "will be funded by the commercialization of its traffic", according to Bloomberg. The minister added that the state-run Tel Telecomunicacoes Brasileiras, known as Telebras "is already marketing the cable to the European Union and major multinational corporations". Spain's IslaLink Submarine Cables SL will also be a part of the venture.