A couple of years ago, when I was investigating the UK’s safest ISP, a high-ranking employee at Virgin Media told me there was no NSA or GCHQ Internet traffic interception equipment hiding within Virgin’s network. He also said that, in his opinion, not much traffic interception actually occurs in the UK.
I asked him why. “Because they don’t need to.
They’ll get your data when lands in the US.”
While it’s not true that all Internet traffic flows through the US, the addition of a few listening posts at key Internet exchanges in Europe (London, Paris) and some in Asia (Hong Kong, Tokyo) ensure that the NSA and its Five Eyes partners can analyse and ingest the majority of international Internet traffic.
To visualise the extent of the NSA’s surveillance network, IXmaps has created a tool that shows you the location of suspected Internet traffic interception points. You can input your own traceroute data, or if you’re in a rush you can just bring up traceroute data from people living in the same city or using the same ISP. Then click the “layers” button and turn on NSA, AT&T/Fairview, and Verizon/Stormbrew.
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