Feeds

Cuba accuses US of sneaky Wi-Fi imperialism

America blocks, and yet pays for, Cuban surfing

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Cuban government has accused America of supporting the illicit Wi-Fi networks which are proliferating in the country, despite Americans also preventing proper internet access reaching the island.

The official government mouthpiece, Granma*, translated by the AFP, reports the arrest of several unnamed individuals who have apparently been installing wireless networks without legal authorisation. The paper also accuses the United States of funding the installations, and providing the equipment too.

Internet access is tightly controlled in Cuba, not least 'cos the ongoing US embargo prevents the country tapping into the undersea cables which snake past the island. Satellite access is getting cheaper, but is still restricted, and controlled, by the government, so locals often resort to illicit installations which are advertised freely to their relatives in Florida.

Granma reckons it has exposed CIA funding of satellite installations, reporting that the dishes are disguised as surf boards and that the CIA has also provided Wi-Fi hotspots so connections can be shared with the neighbours.

Image from a "recreation" of a CIA operation staged by Grana

The government view, espoused by the paper, is that "Establishing illegal networks in Cuba is an attempt to form a parallel communications system on the margin of national institutions and authorities in order to incite people to rebel", though it also argues that illicit users just trying to dodge the internet access tax which the government likens to our own TV licensing scheme: "some countries charge for the television service that is offered free of charge to our people ... Here, it is a regulation that all satellite services must have a license," says the director of Cuba's Control and Supervision Agency.

The US government is not adverse to seeding a little discontent, and there are certainly plenty of people in Florida who'd chip in a few quid to upset the Cuban government. But if it's true then there's a wonderful irony in American's spending money imposing a trade ban which prevents Cuba from getting decent internet access, while at the same time subsidising satellite access for individual Cubans.

Perhaps the CIA is hoping that the inevitable latency inherent in satellite access will drive the Cubans to democracy. ®

Bootnote

The paper also contains the weekly column "Reflections of Fidel", as well as a handy TV guide.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.