IXmaps: a tool to figure out when the NSA can see Canadians' data

Canadians' data requests overwhelming flow through US cables, even when the communications are within Canada. Since the NSA takes the view that it is legally entitled to collect, inspect and retain foreign communications, this means that almost all Canadian communications are being spied on by a foreign power.

The University of Toronto's new IXmaps project lets Canadians visualize the path that their data takes when connecting to online services, domestic and foreign. It's crowdsourced, and invites users to contribute new data about the routes that data takes based on their points of origin.

IXmaps is working to collect data from all regions of Canada, and all ISPs – and their team needs your help to fill the gaps.

By installing a simple program on your computer, you can contribute your own data to the research program, and help better understand how different regions, ISPs, and websites, influence the routes that our data takes online – and the related privacy risks of being exposed to mass surveillance.

You can generate traceroutes (the paths your data takes) in batches, selecting from lists of target destinations. For example:

Canadian government websites

Canadian legal sites

Security intelligence agencies in U.S. and its Five Eyes partners

Civil liberties and privacy advocacy organizations in U.S. and Canada

Canada’s top 25 most popular websites

CIRA's seven public Internet exchange points

Or, you can enter the URLs of your favourite websites, and see where the information travels.


Your Canadian Internet traffic is travelling through the U.S. – making you more vulnerable to NSA surveillance
[Laura Tribe/Openmedia]