tapping undersea fibers?

Bill Stewart bill.stewart at pobox.com
Wed Jun 13 03:31:39 EDT 2001

At 12:55 PM 06/04/2001 -0400, Lenny Foner wrote:
>So we now have at least two people who've confirmed my expectation,
>namely that one can feasibly encrypt the entire cable.  (After all,
>I know what's involved in making fast, special-purpose chips to do
>varous sorts of digital operations, and this isn't any different.)

I'm not particularly convinced of this -
there's OC12 hardware available now (622Mbps, aka 12 T3s plus overhead),
but most telco fibers run at multiples of OC48 or OC192
(48 or 192 T3s, aka 2.4 or 10 Gbps.)  Some cables run small numbers of
wavelengths - often 8-16 of one of those two speeds,
but some of the newer fiber technology can run 80 or 160 wavelengths
if you want to buy the electronics to put on the ends.

As a telco, your end users may be able to encrypt their data streams
fast enough, if they care, but you're not going to.
It costs way too much, and there's no demand.
And as Lenny mentions - politicians, intelligence agencies, etc.,
aren't stopped by telco-provided encryption,
because what a telco can encrypt, a bureaucrat can tell them to decrypt.

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