Canadian Network Sovereignty – A Strategy for 21st Century National Infrastructure Building
21 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2018 Last revised: 6 Jun 2018
Date Written: March 12, 2018
This essay addresses the implications for developing a national digital strategy posed by Canada’s excessive dependence on U.S. internet infrastructure and enterprises. It shows that much of domestic Canadian internet communication passes through the US before returning to Canada. This ‘boomerang’ routing means data loses Canadian legal and constitutional protections and is exposed to mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). It also impairs the efficiency and quality of internet services. The essay explains the part that major Canadian ISPs play in contributing to this boomerang traffic. It concludes by offering recommendations for advancing a national digital infrastructure strategy based on ‘network sovereignty’ – the long standing principle that to advance the public interest, Canadians need to exercise effective control over the communication networks upon which the social/economic life of the nation depends. Updated to the 21st century of dense global interconnection, this principle also means establishing links internationally that reduce the current dependence on the U.S.
Keywords: Canadian Network Sovereignty, National Data Strategy, Internet Infrastructure, NSA Surveillance, Boomerang Routing
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