Is Bell Canada Violating Privacy With Its Traffic Shaping Efforts?

from the another-way-to-look-at-it dept

We've seen all sorts of arguments against ISPs who engage in traffic shaping, but now some are trying to make a privacy argument against traffic shaping as well. A few months ago, the news came out that Bell Canada was engaging in traffic shaping, even for its wholesale ISP partners who promised customers open internet access. As a couple folks have submitted today, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa is claiming that in addition to other questions raised about this, traffic shaping may be a privacy violation, in that it uses deep packet inspection to determine what type of packets are being sent to figure out what to traffic shape. Bell Canada responds that it is only determining what type of packet it is, rather than what's in it -- but even that information could potentially be a privacy violation. While it seems unlikely that this argument will stick, if traffic shaping starts being seen as a privacy issue, it could put even more pressure on ISPs to stop doing it (and may encourage more users to encrypt their traffic).
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: canada, privacy, traffic shaping
Companies: bell canada

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Sajon, 13 May 2008 @ 5:53am

    Re: Idiots

    So following your logic Shohat all communication on your telephone should also be considered public. Deep packet sniffing for the purposes above is the equivilent of the phone company listening to your phone conversations so they can sell your spending habits or likes and dislikes etc.. to retailers for a profit. No this is not what packet shaping is about but this analogy just shows that just because your data is flowing through public or private devices does not mean those in control of those devices are permitted by law to view the data for any purpose other than possibly diagnosis purposes. That is the law as it currently stands. The purpose of those routers switches and hubs is to prevent the "public" from accessing your data. Those who work with/on those router and switches are not the public and are legally obligated to ensure your info does not reach the public encrypted or not.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.