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Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty

TEM 2013: Proceedings of the Technology & Emerging Media Track - Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Victoria, June 5-7, 2012)

11 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2013 Last revised: 13 Feb 2014

Jonathan A. Obar

York University; Quello Center - Michigan State University

Andrew Clement

University of Toronto - Faculty of Information

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Surveillance, Privacy, Canada, Internet, PIPEDA, NSA, National Security Agency, Patriot Act, FISAA, civil liberties, Big Data, Telecommunications, Network, Sovereignty

Suggested Citation

Obar, Jonathan A. and Clement, Andrew, Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty (July 1, 2013). TEM 2013: Proceedings of the Technology & Emerging Media Track - Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Victoria, June 5-7, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2311792 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2311792

Jonathan A. Obar (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Quello Center - Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Andrew Clement

University of Toronto - Faculty of Information ( email )

140 St George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6
Canada

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