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How Canadian governments and law enforcement agencies access telecom data, the benefits of open source Internet tools for business and the purchase of Internet switching gear are among over $1 million in research projects being funded by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

CIRA, which manages the .ca domain, said Friday the 28 projects are the first in its Community Investment Program for ventures by community groups, not-for-profits and academic institutions to enhance the Internet for all Canadians.

“The enthusiastic response we saw from applicants across the country is evidence of CIRA’s long-standing conviction that the Internet has become a critical daily tool in the lives of all Canadians,” CIRA chief executive Byron Holland said in a release. “Our selection committee faced a difficult task to review and choose from among 149 applications, representing just under $8 million in requests.

A number of the applications dealt with proposals on Internet surveillance, privacy and improving the digital literacy of the poor, those in rural areas and minorities.

The winning projects include

–$36,771 to the Halifax Internet Exchange to buy core switching and hosting equipment so Internet and content service providers will be able to interconnect locally;

–$51,600 to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of information to create on-line platform for visualizing the physical and organizational aspects of Canadian internet routing. “Using innovative crowdsourced traceroute generation, geo-location and mapping techniques, it will enable Internet users to view their own traffic as well as better understand economic, technical, privacy and other internet policy issues;”

–$54,970 to the governing council of the University of Toronto to analyze “how state authorities access Canadians’ telecommunications data and how access is conditional by regional organizations that establish lawful interception standards.” The project hopes to “identify governance processes that could defray privacy concerns;”

–$49,841 to Simon Fraser University’s International CyberCrime Research Centre to help law enforcement agencies find based child exploitation Web sites;

–$48,500 to Kids Code Jeunesse to create an online learn-to-code platform for English and French elementary school students;

–$50,000 to the Mozilla Foundation for a project to help educators and youth develop mobile applications;

–$30,000 to York University’s Schulich School of Business to “conduct research on the benefits for Canadian organizations of participating in the development and improvement of tools to access the Internet such as Mozilla’s Web browser. The research will help these organizations understand how the development of collective goods on the Internet leads to benefits for them and their stakeholders.”