Blown To Bits

The PATRIOT Act Drives Internet Traffic Offshore

Saturday, August 30th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

We explain in Blown to Bits that bits crossing entering the U.S. are, under U.S. law, subject to inspection by federal authorities. No matter whether they are in a laptop (see earlier post about new border procedures) or in a fiber optic cable. So the U.S. government claims the right to read the email your daughter sends you while she is in Toronto and you are in Detroit.

According to John Markoff of the New York Times, this law is one of the reasons that Internet traffic is increasingly bypassing the U.S. entirely. Since this is where the Internet started, the U.S. network used to be a kind of hub for the rest of the world; no longer.

It’s not the only reason — there are more Chinese Internet users than American now, so of course it makes sense for other countries to build up their communications infrastructure for purely economic reasons. But this may be an early example of the U.S. driving business away by its incursions into what we used to think of as private information.

I expect that sooner or later some business executive from a friendly foreign country will have his laptop seized and searched at the U.S. border, along with documents of great sensitive value to the business and of no significance to the war on terror. The incident will cause a stink that will lead international executives to suggest that their American counterparts come visit them abroad next time, rather than expecting foreigners to subject themselves to data disclosure by visiting U.S. soil.

One Response to “The PATRIOT Act Drives Internet Traffic Offshore”

  1. gheorghe sima Says:

    Hello SIR and LADy

    I need Internet LAW, Actes Internet and (regulations and rules, directives from European Union Law)and in according with your thinking about good working on Internet .

    Thank You SIR and Lady
    Have a nice days
    in your services

    Mr George Sima Lawyer with EU community and International Law.

    I waiting all the time the best news from YOU SIR and LADY. Thank You!