Thursday, 2 April 2009

National security: NBN politics hots up

OPTUS has accused Telstra of fanning xenophobia by raising the threat posed by Chinese espionage in the new national broadband network.
National security remains a major issue with broadband networks, keeping the politics of communications networks firmly within the bounds of the nation-state.

This situation is unlikely to be resolved in the near future. Indeed, the history of the telegraph followed the same trajectory. Telegraph networks within nation-states were a domestic issue, while the international connections were mostly unfettered as John Pender built his global empire of submarine cables.

In the meantime, it seems that the politics of national security remains a significant factor in the deployment of the NBN. The nation-state necessarily remains a sticking point for the evolution of global communications networks. Maybe there is a greater role here for the ITU?

The surprise is that comments on the article in AustralianIT (read more below) are not bashing Telstra, but are heavily focused on the Singaporean Government's majority control of SingTel Optus and the Chinese Government's ownership of Huawei Technologies.

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