The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x22

Free Press Warns of Global Censorship Technology Deployed in US


According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran and China are likely using Deep Packet Inspection technology to monitor and control the Internet.

This spring, a Free Press report, Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet as We Know It?,
argued that DPI technology poses a major threat to the open Internet,
giving network providers unprecedented power over Internet users. The
use of DPI by U.S. companies like Comcast and Cox has already sparked
widespread concern about abuses of Net Neutrality and online privacy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian government
appears to be using this same technology "to not only block
communication but to monitor it to gather information about
individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes." The
Chinese government is believed to be using DPI to implement its "Great
Firewall," "widely considered the most advanced and extensive censoring
in the world" -- an "arrangement that depends on the cooperation of all
the service providers."

In a May speech, President Barack Obama said, "Our pursuit of
cybersecurity will not -- I repeat, will not include -- monitoring
private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and
protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as
Americans. Indeed, I remain firmly committed to Net Neutrality so we
can keep the Internet as it should be -- open and free."

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"DPI technology is America's sleeping giant. It has been widely
deployed by Internet service providers across the country, and could be
secretly put to use without our knowledge or consent.

"The American Internet experience is not the same as that of Iran or
China. But we see how dangerous this technology can be when it falls
into the wrong hands, or is used for the wrong purposes. Whether DPI is
wielded by a government or a big corporation, the power to pursue
political or economic discrimination is disturbing.

"President Obama clearly understands the critical importance of
preserving our online civil liberties. The United States should set a
shining example by safeguarding the free and open Internet against
power grabs by governments or ISPs.

"We urge our lawmakers to heed the cautionary tale of Iran and
China. We should not blindly permit concentrated control over the
Internet. Before this technology is widely activated, we encourage
Congress to open a broad inquiry to determine what is in the best
interest of the American people."

Read the Wall Street Journal article:

Read Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet as We Know It?:

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