BLOGS: NoDPI meets the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
NoDPI has a great introduction to the current Deep Packet Inspection threat. It follows a meeting with David Hendon, Director Information Economy at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and Rupert Marsh, Head of User Impact Policy. I find it reassuring that they got so high so quickly in a new administration. And I find their analysis of DPI in the UK most helpful. For example:
We then moved on to current threats. At the end of 2009 Virgin Media proposed to deploy a product called CView to monitor unlawful file sharing, and specifically identify which tracks were being shared. This proposed monitoring would intercept lawful as much as unlawful communications. More worryingly, it could potentially be used to give Virgin Media an unfair advantage for the future download service they are planning with Universal: it could log tracks delivered by their competitors in this marketplace, for example Apple’s iTunes Store and Amazon’s music download service, and also monitor the sales of newer entrants to the market. At present it is on hold while the EU’s Commission for Information Society and Media investigates it. We explained that we believe it is not necessary to intercept communications to monitor unlawful file sharing: other methods are equally if not more effective.
We then moved on to Hitwise. Schemes such as Hitwise have been around for many years, and certainly since before debate started about the interception of Web content. In essence, Hitwise records the web pages visited by a substantial proportion of UK Web users (around 8 million), joins this information to demographic data, aggregates it with the aim of removing personal data, and sells on the resulting intelligence. This would be analogous to BT offering British Airways details about the numbers of calls to Virgin Atlantic’s Reservations Line and their Upper Class Reservations Line broken down by the types of people who called each. Within a telephone context it would be clearly unacceptable, but on the Internet it has become an established practice. Neither should it be allowed in an internet context.
It is well worth reading the whole blog; and then monitoring the Coalition’s attitude towards DPI over the coming months. Surely, if it is true to its avowed principles, DPI will be outlawed in the UK? We’ll see.