Net neutrality

Net neutrality — the debate, technological reasoning about what “net neutrality” really needs to be, and alternatives to the extremist positions of both sides on the net neutrality debate

June 20, 2006

Great debate on net neutrality

The Save the Internet folks report on a wonderful net neutrality debate. And what they have to say is totally compatible with my Tariff Rebate Passthrough proposal.

Key points:

Technorati Tags:

June 19, 2006

The false dichotomy of net neutrality, and the Tariff Rebate Passthrough solution

The hot technology-related public policy issue right now (at least in the US) is of course net neutrality. Here’s my take on it:

Both sides are being too extreme, and are painting a false dichotomy. But the proponents of net neutrality are much closer to being right than the laissez-faire telecom industry advocates. The principle that should guide net neutrality policy is Tariff Rebate Passthrough. What that means is:

June 17, 2006

Layer 7 stateful deep packet inspection — the privacy threat is more serious than we thought

I’ve been reading up on net neutrality, and was just hit by an unhappy realization.

The technology that’s kicked off the whole debate is Layer 7 stateful deep packet inspection. This a feature of telecom equipment, originally found only in high-end firewalls, but now evidently found throughout Cisco’s (and surely also its competitors’) product lines. In IP telecom without this feature, the equipment just sees packets of data, and perhaps header information, but can’t look at the data’s content. However, when you’re looking at Layer 7, the equipment is looking at what the application sees. Everything is visible — every record, every word. And if Cisco’s marketing materials are to be believed, all that technology exists today.

The dangers this presents in terms of privacy and censorship, whether in the basically free countries or the basically authoritarian ones, should be obvious. Fighting for freedom is more urgent than we previously realized.

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