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ISPs Injecting Their Content Into Websites
Rogers tests new cap warning system, raises neutrality alarms...
by Karl Bode 09:01AM Tuesday Dec 11 2007
Over the weekend, blogger Lauren Weinstein discovered that Canadian cable operator Rogers Communications has started using a new technology that allows them to inject content into any website a subscriber visits. Rogers is using deep packet inspection and injected Javascript (see code) developed by Perftech. In this case, the warning alerts Rogers customers that they're about to breach their monthly caps.
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Weinstein, who is behind the recently mentioned network neutrality squad, fears the technology could be used by ISPs to inject their own ads upon Internet content or worse. Perftech's tool has some similarity to an ad-injecting system being tested by NebuAd, which is now being used by smaller operators like Texas's Redmoon. According to Weinstein, these technologies are a clear violation of network neutrality principles:
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While Rogers' current planned use for this Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and modification system (reportedly manufactured by "In-Browser Marketing" firm "PerfTech") is for account status messages, it's obvious that commercial ISP content and ads (beyond the ISP logos already displayed) would be trivial to introduce through this mechanism. By the way, PerfTech is even using Google for one of its linked promotional examples on the PerfTech home page. I wonder if they bothered to ask Google's permission for that?
Rogers vice president of communications Taanta Gupta has confirmed that Rogers is experimenting with this technology. "We're trying different things, and we'll test customer response," she says. As is the case with DNS Redirection, we're sure we're only just seeing the beginning of ISP-injected content as a way to grab additional revenue.

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