Deep packet inspection (DPI) refers to
|“||the process of inspecting the contents of a data packet while it is in transit over the Internet. For instance, certain keywords can be both monitored and the e-mail containing them can be kept from reaching its intended destination.||”|
|“||the ability of ISPs to analyze the information, comprised of data packets, that traverses their networks when consumers use their services.||”|
While providing the most targeted traffic monitoring and shaping capabilities, DPI is also more complicated to run and is far more labor-intensive than other traffic-shaping technologies. "Network flow records contain only packet header information. Packet inspection tools allow an analyst to look at the content of the threat data, which enables a more comprehensive analysis."
Privacy implications Edit
DPI technology raises privacy concerns because it involves the inspection of the content of messages sent from one end user to another — enabling the inspector to draw inferences about a user's personal activities, preferences, purchasing habits and other activities.
- Targeted advertising based on a user's behavior while browsing the Internet:
- Scanning network traffic for undesirable or unlawful content, such as unlicensed distribution of copyrighted material or the dissemination of hateful or obscene materials;
- Capturing and recording packets as part of surveillance for national security and other criminal investigation purposes; and
- Monitoring traffic to measure network performance and plan for future facilities investments.
Anti-competitive Uses Edit
Recent advances in packet inspection technologies allow network operators to identify the source and content of much of the data traffic they handle and to manage its transmission in increasingly sophisticated ways. Economic theory suggests that a network platform with significant market power and a vertical interest in related content or applications may have an incentive to use network management as a way to degrade or block competing content or applications delivered over its network. Such an incentive may be heightened when network resources are scarce, as during a period of congestion.
- ↑ Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers, at 40 n.189.
- ↑ Privacy Impact Assessment for EINSTEIN 3-Accelerated (E3A), at 4 n.8.
- ↑ Joseph Farrell, "Open Access Arguments: Why Confidence is Mis-Placed," in Net Neutrality Or Net Neutering, Should Broadband Internet Services by Regulated? 195 (Thomas M. Lenard & Randolph J. May eds. 2006) (discussing the uncertainty surrounding the economic incentives of broadband network platforms in relation to the content and applications that they enable). See also Joseph Farrell & Philip J. Weiser, "Modularity, Vertical Integration, and Open Access Policies: Towards a Convergence of Antitrust and Regulation in the Internet Age," 17 Harv. J. L. & Tech. 85 (2003) (discussing more generally the economic incentives that platform providers have relative to the products and services that they enable).
- Milton Mueller, "DPI Technology from the Standpoint of Internet Governance Studies: An Introduction" (2011) (full-text).