Deep Packet Inspection-Is invasion over Privacy?|Security

Privacy is a most vital factor in the world of communication.Whether in Mobile , Internet or any sort of communication ,every body likes their chat & log history to be private.Consumers now a days are becoming increasingly sensitive to how companies[service providers] use their personal data.It’s not a mere country side issue rather a world wide issue.Arrival of technologies like Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) (also called complete packet inspection and Information eXtraction – IX -) ,Censorships-adds an debate issue on customer privacy.

To begin with, recently a news strike out in Web that Apple iPhone Users are tracked on their privacy. However Apple responded to these mounting criticisms over data privacy- The company denied claims that it tracks its iPhone users but acknowledged flaws in how it collects and stores data required for location-based services.

Another outage occured in Dutch that the telecom company KPN , admitted scanning customers’ mobile-data traffic, a move that has fired up concerns over privacy issues.KPN said it uses a network scanning technology named deep packet inspection[DPI], to determine data traffic of its customers, but denies scanning the content of data traffic.It’s said that not only KPN but also Service providers like Vodafone & others uses this sort of technology to inspect the data packets in various countries.

The reason why Providers like KPN uses these DPI technique is that they explain that KPN’s customers have increasingly been using instant messaging or Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, services instead of sending text messages or placing calls- So the company plans to charge customers when using these services on mobile devices.or in a way to determine whether they are using these services.Although they admit that they are not viewing the contents/private data on these scenario it’s almost clear that Service providers are taking a much step ahead on Consumer privacy.

With lots of Packet sniffing softwares & tecnologies like DPI , if reached in wrong hands can have a long issue on data privacy.Now just come back to basics of DPI ?What basically is this DPI?Definitely it’s not an new technology but used for years for many applications:Experts simply predict that ” When you send an e-mail across the Internet, all your text is bundled into packets and sent on to its destination. A deep packet inspection device literally has the ability to look inside those packets and read your e-mail (or whatever the content might be).”or in network terminology –

A traditional router looks only at the packet header to route the packet[to reach it’s destination].Deep packet inspection looks into the contents of packets, looking for keywords.Deep Packet Inspection (and filtering) enables advanced network management, user service, and security functions as well as internet data mining, eavesdropping, and censorship. Although DPI technology has been used for Internet management for many years, some advocates of net neutrality fear that the technology can be used anticompetitively or to reduce the openness of the Internet

So what ISP[Internet Providers] has to do with DPI?
It seems that consumers are finally becoming aware of what is going on behind the scenes as they surf the Internet, and they don’t like it-
There are several reasons why ISP employ DPI?it’s intention is both good as well as bad for normal users.

  • Targeted advertising – If a provider knows what you are reading, they can display content advertising on the pages they control, such as your login screen or e-mail account.
  • Reducing “unwanted” traffic — Many providers are getting overwhelmed by types of traffic that they deem as less desirable such as Bittorrent and other forms of peer-to-peer. Bittorrent traffic can overwhelm a network with volume. By detecting and redirecting the Bittorrent traffic, or slowing it down, a provider can alleviate congestion.
  • Block offensive material — Many companies or institutions that perform content filtering are looking inside packets to find, and possibly block, offensive material or web sites.
  • Government spying — In the case of Iran (and to some extent China), DPI is used to keep tabs on the local population.
  • Statistics-DPI allows ISPs to gather statistical information about usage patterns by user group. For instance, it might be of interest whether users with a 2 Mbit connection use the network in a dissimilar manner to users with a 5 Mbit connection. Access to trend data also help network planning.

It’s identified that- In addition to using DPI for the security of their own networks, governments in North America, Europe and Asia use DPI for various purposes such as surveillance and censorship.So it’s already admitted by Service providers that whether it’s Mobile usage, Internet usage or any sort of communication, still technology arises with a real consent over normal customers privacy.So with IP address blocking.DNS hijacking ,TCP content filtering [along with DPI], normal users are in a real midst of privacy issues.

Now DPI is not a mere technology that it’s a threat to Privacy issues,it has got real pros too.Infact it’s a perfect security technique too-also maintains integrity & security over networks.It identifies malicious code/spam etc.

Note:So any technology similar to DPI ? whether we lacks any point on this post?please feel free to comment.

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About Technology Timely

Aimed on updated tech news

Posted on June 12, 2011, in Security, Technews. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Not only DPI ,there are several other technologies employed by ISP/Mobile Service providers to inspect customer usage.ie why net neutrality importance arises?.DPI is an old issue.Recently in Egypt{also china,US} this sort of technologies was employed.With proper softwares implemented on your router side/DNS server systems monitoring & censoring can be done effectively.This will really affect the openness of Internet as well as communication.
    Your blog needs to be updated.

  2. A crooked ISP could use DPI to see what you are doing online and harvest passwords too. But in legal terms, that is called illegal wiretapping.Early in Tunisia? The government logged into people’s Facebook accounts and deleted their accounts or modified postings. DPI is quite dangerous when abused.Best use Log into websites via the secure method, HTTPS , instead of HTTP [ie port 443].

    • Even using HTTPS doesn.t ensure that you are safe from ISP monitoring.One such eg: that in North america some isp used fake SSL cerificates(https) to invade privacy illegally.And some way perfect proxy anonomys surfing might help.Any way some sort of laws /Advanced sophisticted browsers/browsing technolgy is awaited to get rid of these sort of illegal monitoring.Hope net neutrality laws should be a first step toward this on many countries

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