Canada’s excessive dependence on US internet infrastructure and enterprises has implications for its development of a national digital strategy.
Much of domestic Canadian internet communication passes through the United States before returning to Canada. This “boomerang” routing means data loses Canadian legal and constitutional protections and is exposed to mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Major Canadian internet service providers (ISPs) contribute to this boomerang traffic, in part, as a matter of competitive strategy.
A national digital infrastructure strategy for Canada should be based on “network sovereignty” — the long-standing principle that to advance the public interest, Canadians need to exercise effective control over the communication networks upon which the social/economic life of the nation depends. In the twenty-first century, this principle also means establishing links internationally that reduce the current dependence on the United States.