[NetBehaviour] Berners-Lee says no to internet 'snooping'.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Mar 12 16:28:27 CET 2009

Berners-Lee says no to internet 'snooping'.

By Tom Espiner.

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has attacked 
deep packet inspection, a technique used to monitor traffic on the 
internet and other communications networks.

Speaking at a House of Lords event on the 20th anniversary of the 
invention of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee said that deep packet 
inspection (DPI) was the electronic equivalent of opening people's mail.

"This is very important to me, as what is at stake is the integrity of 
the internet as a communications medium," Berners-Lee said on Wednesday. 
"Clearly we must not interfere with the internet, and we must not snoop 
on the internet. If we snoop on clicks and data, we can find out a lot 
more information about people than if we listen to their conversations."

DPI involves examining both the data and the header of an information 
packet as it passes a 'black box' on a network, in order to reveal the 
content of the communication. Targeted advertising services, such as 
Phorm in the UK, use DPI to monitor anonymised user behaviour and to 
target adverts at those users. In addition, UK government initiatives 
such as the Intercept Modernisation Programme have proposed using DPI to 
perform mass surveillance of the web comunications of the entire UK 


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