Iran Likes DPI Too

Christoper Rhoads and Loretta Chao report in today’s Journal:

…the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.

The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed.

The article later clarifies that the actual creator of Iran’s deep packet inspection (DPI) technology is not certain. But I blog for a different point. A group of companies, including ISPs and new advertising firms have proposed DPI for advertising purposes. The idea is that if you were to allow your internet tracking to be analyzed and used for targeted advertising, this could offset the cost of providing internet access. The proposals have largely failed in the US, because of legal, privacy, and business problems with the plan.

The holy grail advertising technologies are the same types of tools that governments would like to use for norm setting, criminal enforcement, and terrorism prevention. It’s interesting to see how advertisers and governments are interested in similar technologies.