Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Vs. Privacy

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Vs. Privacy

Over ten years ago many privacy advocates worried about Alexa as it was a company using a web toolbar in order to determine what users were doing online. Amazon eventually purchased the company and now Alexa has become a trusted provider of internet ranking statistics and other important information. It is interesting that many antivirus packages still classify the Alexa toolbar as spyware.

Google and other web companies have toolbars as well and oftentimes these toolbars are used to track every move users make online. The only difference between these more recent toolbars and the Alexa is that we have now become accustomed to them being on our systems and monitoring us.


One of the latest web privacy issues is deep packet inspection from companies like Sandvine as it lets ISPs and governments see the packets which are being sent and received online. If web traffic keeps growing exponentially, ISPs will either have to invest in exponentially more powerful equipment or use DPI technology coupled with bandwidth throttling/traffic shaping to ensure their networks provide adequate bandwidth levels at all times.Some groups are not happy about DPI technology and are protesting its use.

In some cases they are protesting its use to target advertising.

As always, new technologies have the potential to ruffle feathers at first. The problem with DPI however is that users aren't aware it is even being used. I wonder if it will be the governments who come out in favor of some sort of legislation regarding how DPI data is used. I will certainly keep you posted. This should be an interesting battle to watch.

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