Thursday, May 22, 2008

Glasnost Internet: The threat of Transparency and Privacy to the Internet

[Around the world there is growing alarm at attempts by carriers, ostensibly for traffic management reasons, to install deep packet inspection equipment, but now being used for local web ad insertion and other activities. Network neutrality is increasingly also an issue about network privacy. As such various organizations like the prestigious Max Planck institute and others are developing tools so that consumers can discover whether their carrier is doing deep packet inspection and hopefully thwart these serious potential threats to consumer privacy. To my mind this issue will never disappear because the fundamental issue is the current business model of limited competition and a presupposition that the carrier "owns" the last mile and is therefore free to do what they wish with "their" network. I have long argued that to free ourselves of these threats to Internet privacy and freedom we need a new business model where the consumer "owns" the last mile and free to connect to any service provider they wish at neighbourhood carrier neutral interconnect facility. Next generation Fiber to the Home architectures like CityNet and Burlington Vermont enable this type of capability. For more details see my blog on free fiber to the home Some pointers from NNSquad list, Slashdot and Gordon Cooks Arch-econ- BSA]

"The goal of our Glasnost project is to make access networks, such as
residential cable, DSL, and cellular broadband networks, more
transparent to their customers."

Comcast, Cox Slow BitTorrent Traffic All Day

"A study by the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems found that Comcast and Cox Communications are slowing BitTorrent traffic at all times of day, not just peak hours. Comcast was found to be interrupting at least 30% of BitTorrent upload attempts around the clock. At noon, Comcast was interfering with more than 80% of BitTorrent traffic, but it was also slowing more than 60% of BitTorrent traffic at other times, including midnight, 3 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time in the U.S., the time zone where Comcast is based. Cox was interfering with 100% of the BitTorrent traffic at 1 a.m., 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern Time. Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice downplayed the results saying, 'P-to-p traffic doesn't necessarily follow normal traffic flows.'";409444582;pp;1;fp;16;fpid;1

Elude Your ISP's BitTorrent Blockade
"More and more ISPs are blocking or throttling traffic to the peer-to-peer file-sharing service, even if you are downloading copyright free content. Have you been targeted? How can you get around the restrictions? This PC World report shows you a number of tips and tools can help you determine whether you're facing a BitTorrent blockade and, if so, help you get around it."

Deep packet inspection under assault over privacy concerns

Add the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) to the list of groups concerned about the privacy implications of widespread deep packet inspection (DPI) by ISPs. CIPPIC has filed an official complaint with Canada's Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, asking her office to investigate Bell Canada's use of DPI (and we're flattered to be quoted as an expert source in the complaint). In addition, the group would welcome a wider investigation into possible DPI use at cable operators Rogers and Shaw, as well.

Charter to monitor surfing, insert its own targeted ads surfing-insert-its-own-targeted-ads