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NSA Spying Row: The Security of Underwater Fiber Optic Cables

Underwater fiber optic cables

Underwater fiber optic cables are playing a central role in the recent NSA spying row. If you haven’t already heard, the Danish media report that Denmark’s secret service collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from 2012 to 2014. 

Denmark’s secret service gathered information from Norwegian, Swedish, German, and French politicians using underwater fiber optic cables. A spokesperson for Angela Merkel shared that they were unaware of the operation until the recent report from the Danish public service broadcaster, DR. 

If you want a broad overview of the story, we invite you to check it out here (after you finish this post, of course). But right here, we’ll focus on the role of fiber optic technology and subsea fiber optic cables. Denmark’s secret service carried out the illegal surveillance by tapping submarine cable landing stations and fiber optic cables. 

The activity of meddling with underwater fiber optic cables is nothing new. Russian spy submarines have reportedly been doing this for years. It’s referred to as ‘seabed warfare,’ and approximately “99% of our transoceanic data traffic flows through undersea cables, including financial transactions, email, social media and of course military communications.” 

The protection of undersea cables has never been more critical than it is right now. NBG’s sensing solution increases the security of subsea fiber optic cables. Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) and Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) monitor every minor vibration and change in temperature. Our cables perform in the harshest environments. They also keep costs down because they are less likely to be damaged. 

Following DR’s report, there has been wall-to-wall media coverage of the scandal. For us, in the fiber optics industry, our attention went straight to how Denmark’s secret service and the NSA executed the plan. NBG has already developed the best defense. Our underwater cable solutions are the most advanced on the market, created to keep the current NSA Spying Row from happening in the first place. 

The current scandal is a reminder to others to invest in fiber optic sensing technology with better security. If you want to know more about what we can offer, contact us today and speak directly to one of our experts. 

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