Monday, May 31, 2010

Japan - ISPs May Use DPI for Behavioral Advertising

Japan's reports (english - here) that a working group from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, published a report concluding that DPI may be used by ISPs for behavioral advertising.

See coverage by Asiajin, here.

Behavioral advertising, offered in the past by US based Nebuad and Adzilla, and UK based Phorm, was not accepted well in their home countries, mainly because it was deployed without disclosing it to subscribers.

The business case was to share advertising revenues between the ISP and the these companies. The ISP provides the facilities and subscribers base and Nebuad/Phorm the networking equipment that track the subscriber's activity (usually "anonymously" - without keeping record of the subscribers activity) and relations with advertisers.

However, the business case could be only justified with large volumes - so if the subscribers are required to opt-in (register) for the service - there just not going to be enough traffic, clicks and therefore revenues. Opt-out could be a better way, possibly leaving enough subscribers exposed to the process.

According to Asiajin, the Japanese report - "concludes that such technology cannot be used without constituting a breach of private communications if it does not first receive approval from the user (p. 58). However, elsewhere in the report it is stated that an opt-out mechanism must be in place (p. 59), suggesting that the system need not be opt-in." (the report is here, in Japanese).

Related posts:

  • DPI Deployments - Part2: Why Hiding?  - here
  • DPI Deployments - Part4: UK - Everybody is Doing it ! - here

Ofcom: ISPs Need to Reduce Online Copyright Infringement - How?

The UK communication regulator, Ofcom, published a "A proposed code of practice which implements legislative measures aimed at reducing online copyright infringement" (here).

Ofcom expects that implementation, by "fixed-line ISPs with over 400,000 subscribers (i.e. BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange, O2 and Post Office)" will come into force in early 2011.

The proposed practice is as follows:
  • The code also sets out the threshold for including subscribers on a copyright infringers list which must be compiled by ISPs.
  • ISPs will have to record the number of notifications sent to their subscribers and maintain an anonymised list of alleged serial copyright infringers.
  • Copyright holders can then request information on this list and pursue a court order to identify serial infringers and take legal action against them.
  • Ofcom is proposing a three stage notification process for ISPs to inform subscribers of copyright infringements and proposes that subscribers which have received three notifications within a year may be included in a list requested by a copyright owner.

The idea of "3-strikes" is not new (see reference for France, AustraliaItaly, South Korea, Taiwan) - but so far 3rd strike meant a "red card" - a disconnection of the subscriber. Now, Ofcom takes a different approach of forwarding the subscriber information to the copyright holders for legal action.
Copyright infringements are, for many people, synonymous with P2P file sharing (using applications such as Emule or BitTitrrent). However, there are many ways to transfer files, and not all uploads or downloads in P2P networks are of copyright protected media (video or music).

The technical challenge is to detect whether a certain transfer of data contains copyrighted material. There are a number of aspects here - the identification process and the ability to perform under the traffic volumes that are typical to the large ISP networks with a reasonable cost. If the identification device is deployed with a DPI device, the latter can steer only the relevant traffic (P2P, for example) so the identification device could focus on relevant traffic only and reduce the implementation cost.
Technologies from Audible Magic and Detica promise to identify copyright infringements. See "Virgin Media to trial filesharing monitoring system" - here.
According to Audible Magic, their solution - "identify the works themselves in any electronic form, regardless of file format or compression. Registered music, video, games and software can be identified without requiring any watermarking or digital rights management (DRM) schemes."
Related post - "DPI Deployments - Part4: UK - Everybody is Doing it !" - here

[Update5] PCRF - DPI Compatibility Matrix

So far all updates I received to the PCRF-DPI matrix were from PCRF vendors - this time one of the DPI vendors, Allot Communications, is updating its interoperability with PCRFs.

Based on Allot's information, a new PCRF vendor was added to the list - Nokia Siemens Network, with their PCS-5000 product. However, as it is extremely difficult to locate products in NSN web site, and a search for the PCRF product only brings up two press releases, the NSN information below lacks the link to the product page.

PCRF Vendor

PCRF Product






724 (Mobixell)



Camiant (Tekelec)



Flash Networks




Kabira (Tibco software)

Nokia Siemens Networks

PCS 5000



Starent (Cisco)