Published 11 Mar 2009 on ZDnet, for fair use only
Author: Tom Espiner ZDNet.co.uk
Keywords also in Wikipedia: Open Society, Closed Society, Advertising, Surveillance, Uberveillance
Keywords on ZDnet: Advertising, Programme, Packet, Targeted
Speaking at a House of Lords event to mark the 20th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee said that deep packet inspection (DPI) was the electronic equivalent of opening people’s mail.
“This is very important to me, as what is at stake is the integrity of the internet as a communications medium,” Berners-Lee said on Wednesday. “Clearly we must not interfere with the internet, and we must not snoop on the internet. If we snoop on clicks and data, we can find out a lot more information about people than if we listen to their conversations.”
DPI involves examining both the data and the header of an information packet as it passes a ‘black box’ on a network, in order to reveal the content of the communication. Targeted advertising services, such as Phorm in the UK, use DPI to monitor anonymised user behaviour and to target adverts at those users. In addition, UK government initiatives such as the Intercept Modernisation Programme have proposed using DPI to perform mass surveillance of the web comunications of the entire UK population.
Speaking to ZDNet UK at the event, Berners-Lee declined to comment about any particular company or government initiative, but said that internet service providers (ISPs) should not perform DPI. Continue reading