Feeds

Nortel helps stalk you on line

Quit whining; it's a feature

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Nortel is getting ready to enable your ISP to serve up advertising come-ons based on your surfing habits with its new "Personal Internet" network software, the company announced Tuesday.

Nortel's "Personal Internet products will help application, hosting and service providers, content publishers and enterprises to transparently distribute personalized content across the Internet, and to profit from a new wave of personalized Web services," the company cheerfully reports.

This new level of intrusion will be accomplished by tracking surfers at the network level, on the pretext of delivering more reliable and faster service. "Personal Internet solutions will give customers [e.g., ISPs] the power to uniquely identify individual Web users, deliver custom content and services from the fastest content location, and increase infrastructure efficiency."

This will not only enable an ISP or a host or a Web site operator to identify a particular individual and target ads based on their surfing habits and profile information, it will also enable them to determine what sort of device one is using at a given time, such as a computer or a mobile phone, and deliver content tailored to the gizmo as well.

The justifying overlay is a sort of Akamizing scheme which will distribute cached content whipped up from servers least clogged by user demand, with some manner of intelligent routing capability, euphemistically dubbed the Alteon Personal Content Cache and Alteon Content Distribution Manager.

Another element is the Shasta Personal Content Portal, described as "a platform-independent content delivery software engine that lets service providers control content access, steer subscribers, and deliver self-provisioned services on a per-subscriber basis." This will be integrated with the Shasta 5000 Broadband Service Node.

"Imagine a network that knows who you are, where you are, and can reach you whether you're on your mobile phone or at your desktop. Even better, imagine instead of finding your Web content, it finds you. Sounds personal. Exactly," the company's advert gushes.

'Sounds personal?' It sounds like a crime known as stalking to us, but the company's marketing screed cheerfully and strenuously insists that this is something the average surfer wants and needs.

Not everyone is in agreement. "ISPs and telcos should not be monitoring where their customers go to build up a profile for targeted advertising. They are carriers, like the post office, and have no businesses looking inside the envelopes to decide where to send more junk," anti-spam outfit Junkbusters' President, Jason Catlett, observed.

'Should not' is one thing. American law is another. Presently there is no legislative or regulatory impediment to the sleazy schemes and vile dreams of digital marketeers.

Responsibility rests with the surfer not to be victimized. Common-sense practices such as refusing cookies and ActiveX controls and restricting Java permissions, using free crypto schemes like PGP, using anonymous proxy servers, and registering at Web sites with fictitious personal data whenever possible, can go a long way towards keeping one safe from marketing abuse.

For those who prefer not to bother with all the tinkering and tweaking, the premium Freedom package from ZeroKnowledge Systems will do it all automatically, in exchange for $49.95 American. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.