Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Deep Packet Inspection and Privacy, Liberty and Freedom of Association

[Although Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is often represented as no more than a simple traffic management tool used by cablecos, telcos and some ISPs, it is one of those technologies that can have profound social, economic and political consequences. The Internet is now so pervasive, that now in a few short years it has become the most important tool for exercising our most cherished rights including privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of association. I am pleased to see that the Canadian Privacy Commissioner and many others recognize this profound dichotomy between technology and social responsibility. Although DPI is often used to block or limit what is deemed by the carriers to be abusive traffic such as P2P, its unchecked and unconditional usage presages concern amongst many that it can easily be subverted into a tool of repression and interception. I hope that the upcoming hearings at the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) on Network Neutrality will address these issues as well – BSA]

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Collection of Essays on DPI and Privacy

Ralf Bendrath also has just compiled a little reading list with the limited non-computer-engineering academic literature around DPI, and issued a sort-of-call-for-papers for social sciences / law / humanities colleagues who are working on this: