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Do you know where your private data travels online?

Our friends at IXmaps have launched a greatly improved Internet mapping tool to let you see exactly where your private data travels online

Exciting news!

We’ve been working hard alongside a team of top privacy experts at the University of Toronto and York University on a greatly improved Internet mapping tool — and today we’re launching that tool to the public.

IXmaps (which stands for “Internet Exchange Mapping”) will help you see for yourself where your personal data travels when you use the Internet, and who gets to access it along the way. You can use the tool to map where your data travels, and how often it travels through the U.S., where it’s especially vulnerable to NSA surveillance.

Here’s how you can check out the IXmaps tool right now:

  • Visit the IXmaps website at IXmaps.ca

  • Click on “Start Mapping” to find traceroutes already submitted to the IXmaps database. For example, you can search all routes between Vancouver and Toronto to see how many travel via the U.S.  i.e. FROM City Vancouver / VIA Country  US / TO city Toronto / Search

  • Click on “Learn” to find out more about the issues involved.

  • Click on “Contribute” to anonymously contribute your own routes to the IXmaps database. By doing so, you will help other users better visualize where Canadians’ data travels online.

This updated IXmaps tool will play a key role in raising awareness and improving transparency around mass surveillance. For example, many Canadians are still unaware that the vast majority of their Internet traffic travels through the United States, where it’s subject to being collected and stored indefinitely by the NSA. Even a large percentage of domestic Canada-to-Canada traffic is impacted by this, as it ‘boomerangs’ to the U.S. before returning to Canada.

By using the IXmaps tool, and especially contributing your own routes, you will help top privacy researchers gain an even clearer understanding of where Canadians’ data travels across the Internet and the risks it faces. In turn, this will help us make the case for boosting Canada’s own Internet infrastructure to keep much more of our private data in Canada in future.

As one of our most highly-engaged privacy supporters, I’m sure you’ll be as excited about this as we are! Play your part by checking out the IXmaps tool right now, and please consider anonymously contributing your own routes to help us learn more.

P.S. If you spot a glitch with the tool, or if anything seems unclear, our academic partners would love to hear from you! You can fill out this simple feedback form to let them know how you think the tool can be improved.