In an article for the Atlantic, Andrew Blum points out that recent events in Egypt have reminded us of something oft forgotten: the networks that comprise the Internet are connected physically, and can be disconnected by snipping cables. Here in the United States, Verizon and Google have recently gained control over two such “choke points,” which should raise alarm bells:
The news Thursday evening that Egypt had severed itself from the global Internet came at the same time as an ostensibly far less inflammatory announcement closer to home. Verizon, the telecom giant, would acquire “cloud computing company” Terremark for $1.4 billion. The purchase would “accelerate Verizon’s ‘everything-as-a-service’ cloud strategy,” the press release said.
The trouble is that Terremark isn’t merely a cloud computing company. Or, more to the point, the cloud isn’t really a cloud.
Among its portfolio of data centers in the US, Europe and Latin America, Terremark owns one of the single most important buildings on the global Internet, a giant fortress on the edge of Miami’s downtown known as the NAP of the Americas.