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

Bill Woodcock woody at
Tue Sep 10 17:27:15 UTC 2013

On Sep 10, 2013, at 9:29 AM, Jean-Francois Mezei <jfmezei_nanog at> wrote:
> Will the market start to demand routes that avoid the USA if the destination is not the USA ?

Unlikely, all else being equal.  The market demands the least expensive routes.  Which is why we push for new IXPs on the Canadian side of the border, so that the _cheapest_ route will also be the _shortest_ route, and will remain within Canadian jurisdiction and the purview of Canadian personal privacy law, for instance.

> It is about sovereignty and the ability of one nation to decide for itself.
> Could the government set policies that end up making within-canada
> transit and peering more competitive than buying transit through the USA ?

Note that this is an entirely different question, orthogonal to markets and economics.  It is within the power of the Canadian sovereign government to do whatever wiretaps it likes within Canada, and share that information with other governments, for instance, and neither shortest paths nor least expensive paths will have any effect on that.  

That said, regulatory best-practice is generally held to be to either keep hands off the Internet entirely, or to make an ISP class license requirement that every service provider network deliver traffic that has source and destination addresses within a region, without passing the traffic across the border of the region.  That's a technology-neutral way of saying that if you have a customer in a region, and someone else has a customer in the same region, you and they had better figure out a way of delivering that traffic through peering or local transit.

> Lets reverse the situation for half a second. Say most traffic from USA
> to USA were to pass through Canada and Canada had the ability to spy on
> all USA traffic, including emails between congressman and their mistresses.
> Do you think the USA would let another nation spy on its traffic for
> half a second ?

Happens all the time.  China Telecom has routers within the U.S. borders, and offers domestic routes across the U.S.  Stands to reason that France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, et cetera, would be doing the same thing for their respective sovereigns.  All of this is just routine power-struggle, it's not an all-or-nothing thing, and absolutes are of little value in the discussion.

> How can Bombardier compete against Boeing when the NSA captures
> Bombardier's emails etc and could potentially hand them over to Boeing?

The theory was that, paraphrasing _Brazil_, "this is the Department of Records, not the Department of Information Retrieval."  Theoretically, the countries that collected and shared information did so for the benefit of the sovereign, not the benefit of the people or the benefit of capital, and did not share what they collected with the private sector.  That has, however, been abused before:

Also of note:–France_relations#Saint_Pierre_and_Miquelon_boundary_dispute

So, not meaning to be a downer here, just pointing out that we should all be doing what we can, and not wasting too much energy on shocked outrage at the misbehavior of others.  


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 841 bytes
Desc: Message signed with OpenPGP using GPGMail
URL: <>

More information about the NANOG mailing list