Downtime

Jan 21 2010   10:42AM GMT

Learning to love Big Brother

ComputerWeeklyStaff Profile: ComputerWeeklyStaff

Tags:
Cisco
deep packet inspection
DPI
Encryption
Juniper
Phorm
Virgin Media

News that Virgin Media was working with Detica on deep packet inspection (DPI) to detect illegal file-sharing on its network struck Downtime as yet another dumb approach to the problem. It will simply encourage net users, especially the bad guys, to use encryption and onion ring networks to disguise the source and content of their messages.
If readers remember, Virgin Media was one of those that signed up to use Phorm’s DPI-based system to serve ads based on users’ interests. So the firm clearly likes the technology, but is trying to find an acceptable way to use it.
Unfortunately, political pressure is on firms like Cisco and Juniper to build DPI into their boxes, mainly to speed up searches for terrorist suspects, and they are wilting under it.
No doubt, like Winston Smith, we can all learn to love Big Brother.

3  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Winston Smith
    To quote 1984, Chapter 1...

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

    DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

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  • Mike
    I have recently been researching the hardware technology behind Internet spyware/adware systems such as Phorm and Feeva.

    It appears that both companies are using facilities provided in Cisco hardware to install spyware into ISP networks, allowing them to implement "deep packet inspection" and packet tampering.

    Phorm uses a Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE), as shown here:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/29/phorm_documents/

    Feeva uses an add-in to the Cisco 7600 series router to install spyware into the router, as shown here:

    https://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2009/prod_021209.html

    The Feeva system modifies HTTP packet headers to insert information about the geographical location of the Internet user. Such tampering would be illegal under UK RIPA legislation.

    Cisco as a company is allowing organisations to use its technology to create systems which may be illegal to operate.

    Cisco should place restrictions within its technology licensing to prevent companies from using their products for illegal activity, in creating spyware, adware and malware, as Phorm and Feeva are doing.

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  • Pete
    I have just cancelled my contract with Virgin Media because i dont want my sensitive information (bank details etc) going through a system that can check through your packets of data - a packet of data is just that - it can be anything if they can look at filesharing packets thay can look at your bank details - I do not trust Detica - Phorm or any other what i call spyware - the internet will soon be dead because of this if it rolls out throughout the isp's then i will go back to paying all my bills with cash and stop online shopping and banking - it has far reaching issues

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