Over the past few years, we at APconnections have made our feelings about Deep Packet Inspection clear, completely abandoning the practice in our NetEqualizer technology more than two years ago. While there may be times that DPI is necessary and appropriate, its use in many cases can threaten user privacy and the open nature of the Internet. And, in extreme cases, DPI can even be used to threaten freedom of speech and expression. As we mentioned in a previous article, this is currently taking place in Iran.
Although these extreme invasions of privacy are most likely not occurring in the United States, their existence in Iran is bringing increasing attention to the slippery slope that is Deep Packet Inspection. A July 10 Huffington Post article reads:
“Before DPI becomes more widely deployed around the world and at home, the U.S. government ought to establish legitimate criteria for authorizing the use such control and surveillance technologies. The harm to privacy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for using DPI must be very high.The use of DPI for commercial purposes would need to meet this high bar. But it is not clear that there is any commercial purpose that outweighs the potential harm to consumers and democracy.”
This potential harm to the privacy and rights of consumers was a major factor behind our decision to discontinue the use of DPI in any of our technology and invest in alternative means for network optimization. We hope that the ongoing controversy will be reason for others to do the same.