#CyberFLASH: IXmaps illustrates how your “local” data travels through the NSA’s jurisdiction

IXmapsA new online database called IXmaps has gone live, put together by University of Toronto researchers and funded by the .CA Community Investment Program, to help Canadians understand how their data traffic moves, particularly how it moves through nodes in the United States and therefore under the jurisdiction of the U.S. National Security Agency.

The project is also designed to offer Canadians a sense of agency, in that you personally can contribute to the project, adding to the 40,000 internet routes already crowdsourced in the IXmaps database.

The most concerning point made by the project, for those that didn’t know already, is the fact that even if you’re sending an email from Point A (Halifax, let’s say) to Point B (any other Canadian destination), the data will almost definitely pass through an American data traffic hub and swept into the NSA info dragnet.

“There is nothing inherently wrong with data moving unencumbered across an interconnected global Internet infrastructure,” says the University of Toronto’s Andrew Clement. “It is, however, critical that Canadians understand the implications of their data being stored on U.S servers and moving through U.S. jurisdiction. ISPs need to be transparent, privacy protective and accountable custodians of user information in this regard. Internet users should be fully informed consumers and citizens when making choices about their sensitive personal data.”

And even if you’re not sending an email, but merely using a service like Facebook, Google, YouTube or Amazon, these are American companies operating in American jurisdictions, so again, subject to data snooping and the hysterical overreach of the Patriot Act.

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