From September 2012 to May 2013 I was a research assistant for a University of Toronto, Faculty of Information research project called IXmaps (principle investigator: Andrew Clement). IXmaps is an internet mapping tool that shows how your personal data travels across the internet. The IXmaps project attempts to document and make visible exactly how data from your computer is routed across the internet,  and indicate some of the privacy risks involved in such routing practices.

]One of the key concepts that emerged from the IXmaps project was the “boomerang route.” A boomerang route is a data packet path that starts and ends in Canada, but travels through the USA for part of the journey. IXmaps found that a lot of Canadian internet traffic is routed this way, even when starting and ending in the same city. What’s more, much of this boomerang traffic passes though suspected U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance sites. Canadians who value their privacy may be concerned about boomerang routing because it means our personal data to the USA PATRIOT Act. To help describe and illustrate the concept of the boomerang route I created this video which is posted to the IXmaps webpage.

Technical Work: I developed storyboards based on a script produced by Andrew Clement, created graphics in Photoshop and Illustrator and animated graphics in After Effects. I then coordinated with  Antonio Gamba Bari who expertly produced all of the Google Earth animations. I also liaised with Andrew Clement regarding the recording of his voiceover. Finally, I  used Premiere to bring all the parts together into one finished video.

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