Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty
Jonathan A. Obar
York University; Quello Center - Michigan State University
University of Toronto - Faculty of Information
July 1, 2013
TEM 2013: Proceedings of the Technology & Emerging Media Track - Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Victoria, June 5-7, 2012)
Preliminary analysis of more than 25,000 traceroutes reveals a phenomenon we call ‘boomerang routing’ whereby internet transmissions originating and terminating in Canada are routinely routed through the United States. Canadian originated transmissions that travel to a destination in Canada via a U.S. switching centre or carrier are subject to U.S. law - including the USA Patriot Act and FISAA. As a result, these transmissions expose Canadians to potential U.S. surveillance activities – a violation of Canadian network sovereignty.
In the face of this unregulated surveillance of Canadians, the Federal government and internet service providers should re-assert our national network sovereignty and better protect Canadian civil liberties. In what follows, we present boomerang route findings and discuss U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) tracking concerns. We then offer a plan for strengthening Canadian network sovereignty, including: 1) strengthening and enforcement of Canadian privacy law (e.g. PIPEDA), and 2) repatriation of Canadian internet traffic by building more internet exchange points.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11
Keywords: Surveillance, Privacy, Canada, Internet, PIPEDA, NSA, National Security Agency, Patriot Act, FISAA, civil liberties, Big Data, Telecommunications, Network, Sovereignty
Date posted: August 19, 2013 ; Last revised: February 13, 2014