Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Injecting into your internet

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging on a daily basis.  I'm not going to kid you--I'm finding it to be a challenge to write about 365 reasons why it's a great idea to expand fair use.  It looks like I started to run out of non-repetitive ammo at only about 200 reasons.  

I'm not going away though, so I hope you'll stick around.  It might just be that I'll post when I think I have something worthwhile to say.  Surely that's not so bad?  But this does count as a fanaticism-fail, so I apologize.  

Today I'm going to talk about injection.  Specifically, your ISP injecting--or removing--things from your internet feed.

First, Cox Cable decided it would be a good idea to inject HTML into your HTML stream to let you know when there is a service outage.  What this means is you are surfing the web, and suddenly you get a popup on whatever web page you're looking at that announces a service outage or whatever.

I spend a lot of time in this space talking about the integrity of information, and the need for integrity in our internet communications (in the sense of not being censored, not candor..although that's good, too).  At first this sounds quite innocuous.  But we know better, don't we?  When I type in the URL to a web page, I expect to have an unaltered communication session with the owner of the server that runs that website.  If my ISP starts injecting stuff in there, I am no longer getting an unfettered and unfiltered internet connection.

Using such technology, an ISP could, for example, make all the text in your browser a different color.   Or alter images and replace them with advertisements.

Slippery slope, that's all I'm saying.

And that dovetails nicely with the report of a French ISP blocking advertisements by default.  Again, sounds fabulous.  Indeed, most malware is served via advertisements, these days.

But it's not what you paid for.  What are they going to block next?

Not to mention, I've already run into a couple sites where all the actual content is served from an ad server--so no ads, no content.  It's another arms race on the internet....

Now, an option to block ads, I think that would be great.

The integrity of our communications must not be threatened, whether it's injection, blocking, or shaping torrent traffic.  Or we're just like China.

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