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The Politics of Deep Packet Inspection: What Drives Surveillance by Internet Service Providers?

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dc.contributor.author Parsons, Christopher
dc.date.accessioned 2013-11-12T16:13:24Z
dc.date.available 2013-11-12T16:13:24Z
dc.date.copyright 2013 en_US
dc.date.issued 2013-11-12
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/5024
dc.description.abstract Surveillance on the Internet today extends beyond collecting intelligence at the layer of the Web: major telecommunications companies use technologies to monitor, mediate, and modify data traffic in real time. Such companies functionally represent communicative bottlenecks through which online actions must pass before reaching the global Internet and are thus perfectly positioned to develop rich profiles of their subscribers and modify what they read, do, or say online. And some companies have sought to do just that. A key technology, deep packet inspection (DPI), facilitates such practices. In the course of evaluating the practices, regulations, and politics that have driven DPI in Canada, the US, and UK it has become evident that the adoption of DPI tends to be dependent on socio-political and economic conditions. Simply put, market or governmental demand is often a prerequisite for the technology’s adoption by ISPs. However, the existence of such demand is no indication of the success of such technologies; regulatory or political advocacy can lead to the restriction or ejection of particular DPI-related practices. The dissertation proceeds by first outlining how DPI functions and then what has driven its adoption in Canada, the US, and UK. Three conceptual frameworks, path dependency, international governance, and domestic framing, are used to explain whether power structures embedded into technological systems themselves, international standards bodies, or domestic politics are principally responsible for the adoption or resistance to the technology in each nation. After exploring how DPI has arisen as an issue in the respective states I argue that though domestic conditions have principally driven DPI’s adoption, and though the domestic methods of governing DPI and its associated practices have varied across cases, the outcomes of such governance are often quite similar. More broadly, I argue that while the technology and its associated practices constitute surveillance and can infringe upon individuals’ privacy, the debates around DPI must more expansively consider how DPI raises existential risks to deliberative democratic states. I conclude by offering some suggestions on defraying the risks DPI poses to such states. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject privacy en_US
dc.subject telecommunications en_US
dc.subject comparative policy en_US
dc.subject critical theory en_US
dc.subject canada en_US
dc.subject united states en_US
dc.subject united kingdom en_US
dc.subject advertising en_US
dc.subject copyright en_US
dc.subject lawful access en_US
dc.subject network management en_US
dc.title The Politics of Deep Packet Inspection: What Drives Surveillance by Internet Service Providers? en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Bennett, Colin J.
dc.degree.department Dept. of Political Science en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.temp Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0615 en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0708 en_US


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