Monday, February 11, 2008

Tin-foil hats for sale

Now with the 5th cable damaged, there has to be something going on. Upon looking further on the matter, there were several theories where most of them were about ISP market shares, and cable providers' market shares. One, however, was very interesting, that I'm bound to think that it is probably the reason we have seen the number of damaged cables within one week.

First, I'd like to say that there were several sources that said that damaged cables happen all over the world with the average of a damaged cable every 3 days. Several reports show that there were 50 damaged cables in the Atlantic alone in 2007. Also, there are around 25 ships around the world that do nothing except fixing damaged cables. They say that no one notices them because they are redundant in the sense of internet can be re-routed easily through other cables. Of course, they are talking about the 100+ cables between the Americas and Europe. The disruption that happened in the East was due to the low number of cables connecting, where backup routing was not an option.

Anyway, there is this small island that belongs to Iran, called Kish Island. The island is a major touristic attraction in the Middle East after Sharm El Sheikh and Dubai. Strict Iranian Islamic laws are relaxed there, although they do not sell alcohol, makes it very touristic. Also, Kish Island is considered a trade free zone. However, it was planned to open an Iranian Oil Bourse around February 10th. The bourse is an oil exchange where they have decided not to tie the oil barrel price with the US$, instead they intended to tie it to the lovely Euro. Of course, this pissed the US, due to the current economical recession. And, of course, Iran, the second candidate for a "cleansing crusade" after Iraq, is really progressing that they launched their first home-built-and-launched satellite.

What's that got to do with the internet submarine cables? Well, the 5 damaged cables were geographically around Kish Island, and supposedly provide the island with internet. The first option is that Uncle McDonald wanted to show the world that it couldn't be relied on, due to the lousy not-so-redundant connectivity the Middle East has. The second option was to eavesdrop on the transactions to and from the bourse.

Well.. well.. seems we finally have a reason to wear our tin-foil hats.

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