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This paper analyses societal and ideological impacts of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technologies. DPI surveillance technologies are communications surveillance tools that are able to monitor the traffic of Internet data, including content data. The analysis presented in this paper is based on product sheets, self-descriptions, and product presentations by 20 European security technology companies that produce and sell DPI technologies, as well as on whitepapers, research papers, news articles, and opinions of privacy advocates, civil society groups, and consumer protection groups. The results show the complexity of societal dimensions of DPI and the importance of the analysis of power and political economy in assessing these implications. They are interpreted in the light of the emergence of a new mode of governmentality, in which the economic interests of the security industry and state interests interact. The analysis also shows that there is a variety of ideological explanations employed by the security industry for justifying its sales of communications surveillance technologies.
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Keywords: Deep Packet Inspection; Internet surveillance; political economy; security industry; security-industrial complex; surveillance-industrial complex

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, Wat ford Road, Northwick Park, Harrow London, HA1 3TP, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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