The original design of the Internet was as a resilient, distributed system, able to route around (and therefore recover from) massive disruption - up to and including nuclear war. However, network effects and business decisions (e.g. the pur- chase of GlobalCrossing by Level-3) have led to centralization of routing power. This is not merely an academic issue; it has practical implications, such as whether the citizens of a country may be subject to censorship by an “upstream” ISP in some other country, that controls its entire access to the Internet. In this paper, we examine the extent of routing centralization in the Internet; identify the major players who control the “Internet backbone”; and point out how many these are, in fact, under the jurisdiction of censorious countries. We also measure the collateral damage caused by censorship, particularly by the two largest Internet-using nations, China and India.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



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Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Computing Security (GCCIS)


RIT – Main Campus