Despite privacy pushes, it’s hard to keep Internet traffic from passing through US

Even when countries make an effort to keep their Internet traffic away from the potential prying eyes of the National Security Agency, it’s still hard to avoid sending data through the U.S., a new study by Princeton researchers finds. 

One issue is simply that a lot of popular sites are based in the U.S. But even domestic Internet traffic in Brazil, which has set up Internet exchange points so ISPs can exchange data without relying on foreign networks, often “trombones” to the U.S. and back for business reasons, the researchers write: 

This is due to IXPs being seen as a threat by competing commercial providers; providers are sometimes concerned that “interconnection” will result in making business cheaper for competitors and stealing of customers. It is likely that Brazilian providers see other Brazilian providers as competitors and therefore as a threat at IXPs, which cause them to peer with international providers instead of other local providers.