U.S. and China vie for control of undersea internet cables

What’s one piece of infrastructure that — more than anything else — forms the backbone of the modern world? It’s not roads, bridges or even 5G towers — it’s the internet cables that sit on the sea floor and span the globe.

These cables are essential for our globalized, connected world, facilitating trillions of dollars of transactions a day and carrying everything from WhatsApp messages to classified government information. Yet the protections for these cables under international law are confusing and, in many cases, antiquated.

They may also be some of the first things affected in a major conflict between global powers. According to a Reuters investigation, the U.S. and China are vying for influence over who gets to build and maintain cables. For more on all this, Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour spoke with James Kraska, a professor of International…

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