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[ NNSquad ] Re: "Deep Packet Inspection" Trade Group

On Feb 12, 2008, at 8:41 PM, Roy J. Tellason wrote:
This page, in particular:
would seem to be of interest in terms of the subject matter here.

Section 3 in this paper, titled "The Benefits of Discrimination", strikes me as a prototypical example of scope creep in this debate. According to Peha, instead of just providing a connection to the Internet, apparently implicit in the ISP's role is virus and spyware detection and blocking, adult content filtering, and preventing the use of unauthorized network devices by children.

While ISPs can certainly make any or all of those services available to customers as part of their business model, justifying DPI of everyone's network traffic by citing those services as (mandatory?) benefits is disingenuous, and quickly leads (again, as the paper demonstrates) to muddling the issues by lumping together activities that don't require content-level inspection (e.g. blocking DoS attacks) with those that do (e.g. blocking spyware). Of course, that muddling makes it much easier to spin DPI as something that's really for the benefit of the end user, which I guess may in part explain the paper appearing in this context.

(To be fair, he does provide an interesting and more lengthy discussion in section 4 on some of the complications that may arise without network neutrality, though the seemingly much greater weight of those complications make his subsequent call for a balanced policy ring a little hollow.)