A new interactive online tool named Internet Exchange Mapping (IXmaps) appeared earlier this week, and it shows if your data traffic passes through the NSA or not. Many prying eyes are out there, trying to discover everybody’s secrets and take a peek into everyone’s life.
That’s why a team of faculty and students from the University of Toronto created a new tool, called the IXmaps. This tool displays known paths used by data to travel while passing through internet exchanges that are physical locations utilized by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and content delivery networks as hubs while handing off traffic between networks.
The IXmaps Map has also enlisted all the exchanges that the NSA uses as listening posts for the purpose of intercepting the data that passes through the transfer points.
These maps are built out by several primary sources, first of which is OpenMedia, an activist group known for their work to keep the Internet safe and surveillance-free. The other sources include the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and the Office of Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
These mapmakers pinpointed the locations of listening posts used by the NSA through the use of documents released by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor and whistleblower.
The map has highlighted many of the possibilities concerning areas through which data flows, including many of the unique and looping paths. Canadians were surprised to see how much of their data flows through the US and therefore has the potential to be exposed by NSA.
This discovery brought many concerns for internet users that are not based in the US. Their online activity is probably getting picked up and spied on by foreign governments. Once the data starts flowing through the US servers, they collect everything they can get to, no matter the origin of the data.
There can be an explanation for the specific path that the data flows through, and the most likely reason for this the cost. If your ISP doesn’t have an agreement to exchange data through the shorter paths, it might just have to take a long way around, through some partnered networks.
With the recent decision of the US Senate to stop preventing the ISPs from collecting and selling your data flow information to the highest bidder, IXmaps is a reminder that not only marketing companies are interested in what you do and care about online, but the secret spy agencies as well.