Last year, I observed:

“These packets travel from my location to Toronto to Chicago to New York to Montreal to Ottawa to Carleton University to the machine named Rideau. […] I can see the building housing Rideau.carleton.ca through the window. It is down the street.”

According to this NYT article:

“One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.”

I hadn’t connected those dots until just now.


  1. kev
    Posted December 26, 2005 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s got less to do with the Americans, and a lot more to do with our idiotic telcos crippling their peering links to show customers that there is a “competitive advantage” to routing traffic to the US by using their network.

    Sadly, I’m not making this up. The large telco I worked for a couple years ago confessed that they purposefully under-provisioned their peering with their Canadian competition, on direction of uppe management and, in the words of a senior network archtype “anyone who wants to get info off network can get a line from them, I’m not going to make it easier”. We had an outsourced service that used our competitor’s network, and trying to explain the beauty of the interweeb and why it was a good thing for our custys to have pipe between us fell on deaf ears.


    While I like the whole conspiracy theory angle, I think it’s more that Canadian telco’s can’t route theirselves out of a soggy paper bag. And yes, we now lose in multiple ways because of it.

  2. Posted December 26, 2005 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Since it’s the holidays, I will share with you something that bugs the shit out of me. Want to know what it is? Tough, I’m telling you anyways.

    I cannot stand it when time in a 12-hour format has a leading zero (i.e. “04:08 PM”). Why is it displayed this way? If it’s displayed as 04:08, then it should only be 4:08am, not 16:08.

    A minor nit, to be sure, but I thought I’d share.

  3. Mike Hoye
    Posted December 26, 2005 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the information. In return, I will simply say that I have no idea why it’s “04:08”, and not the as-you-say saner version. Some artefact of Moveable Type?

    I will investigate!

  4. Posted December 27, 2005 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    On the telecom routing question, just this to observer: the network that supports routing and additional services to NA telecom subscribers (poor dears) is arranged in an hierarchical manner. Given the fact that Canada and the US are indistinguishable to telecom routing software (since, for those not in the telco “game” there is a North American Numbering Plan and not two, one named for the Great White Wasteland and the other for the Yanks, which means dialing from Georgia and dialing from Whitehorse you use the same sequence of digits no matter where you’d like the call to be routed).

    Thus, to the telecom hierarchy in NA, granted parts of it are “run” or “owned” by different interests who cooperate to make the connections “work” (very web-like, if I can just slip that one in), Canada is a very small (but never insignificant) part of the whole. It’s just a numbers game (pun intended) and the US has us beat in that competition. Nothing sinister, just things that aren’t explained well, perhaps because those providing answers don’t have the information to do so convincingly and/or the questioner doesn’t have the background to understand all of the reasons.

    On the “bonus” question re: 24 hour clock conventions, I will hazard a guess that the leading digit is intentional, serving the purpose of prevention miscommunications when the time of an event is transmitted verbally. “Zero Four Hundred Hours” vs “Four Hundred Hours” vs “Fourteen Hundred Hours”.

  5. Mike Hoye
    Posted December 29, 2005 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Is that an anagram?