[T]wo US companies, Kindsight Inc. and Phorm Inc., are pitching deep packet inspection services as a way for Internet service providers to claim a share of the lucrative online ad market [Shunned Profiling Technology on the Verge of Comeback]. Kindsight and Phorm say they protect people’s privacy with steps that include obtaining their consent. They also say they don’t use the full power of the technology, and refrain from reading email and analyzing sensitive online activities. Use of deep packet inspection this way would nonetheless give advertisers the ability to show ads to people based on extremely detailed profiles of their Internet activity. To persuade Internet users to opt in to be profiled, Kindsight will offer a free security service, while Phorm promises to provide customized web content such as news articles tailored to users’ interests. Both would share ad revenue with the ISPs. Kindsight says its technology is sensitive enough to detect whether a particular person is online for work, or for fun, and can target ads accordingly.
Published: November 27, 2010