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Ron Yokubaitis, Chairman of Data Foundry made an outstanding filing with the FTC on February 28, 2007.

The filing focuses on IMS as the tool for Whittacre Tiering as the means of destroying a neutral internet. it says:

IMS is the tool that will be used to implement tiering, and is a mechanism for destruction of privacy and security. [snip]

AT&T selected Lucent as its IMS vendor in October 2005.

[snip - Data Foundry’s Filing continues]

“These materials make it absolutely clear that the broadband industry is rapidly moving to leverage their control over the transport layer – through use of the so-called “services control layer”1 – to be able to “manage the end-customer experience to achieve full revenue potential.” The telephone companies and cable companies want to institute the kind of broadband control at all layers now exerted by the licensed wireless companies. They intend to “monetize the Internet” by “creatively charging.” They are not content to provide simple broadband gateway access that allows customers to experience the Internet “digital highway”; they insist on turning it into a “toll-road” with differential charges depending on the “value” the customer is perceived to receive from the service, application, device or content, even though the broadband providers often have nothing to do with that value other than being one of several gateways along the way.”

“Perhaps what is most disturbing is the complete loss of privacy and confidentiality that customers will suffer as a result of these providers’ plans. These providers do not seem to be concerned that their deep packet inspection will yield and reveal some of the most personal and proprietary information customers have. They believe that they have the right to open packets and inspect and store the contents. They think that if they restrict further dissemination of the information to third parties then they are protecting privacy.”

Cook’s Edge: Should ATT’s destructive policy (and that of the other IMS devotees in the cable and telco industry) be implemented, the result will be a very major opportunity for Level 3.  Over the past two years it has acquired seven major players in metro fiber.  It has gone from about 1500 to 6000 buildings directly attached to its network. In addition to the much greater cost effectiveness of an all fiber all IP network ATT now is giving the fortune 2000 even more reason to put its enterprise networks wherever possible on Level 3 fiber and touch the PSTN only as a matter of last resort.

Furthermore as I understand it, many enterprises in the medical and financial area would legally  have no choice but to switch in order to protect their customer’s data privacy.

OK you may ask.  How do those enterprises that switch to Level 3s End to End Fiber reach their customers?  Perhaps this gives Google a last mile opportunity in some areas?  Clearwire just got a lot of spectrum from none other that ATT. Possibilities are intriguing.

Web Services Based Encrypted Email

But there is another fix that I experienced last week in communication with Aetna about my health insurance.  Web based encrypted email.  It worked beautifully.  Let’s see ATT try to interfere with their customers’ encrypted email!

The email that Aetna sent me said:
For your protection, the content of this message has been sent securely by Aetna using encryption technology.  For more information about Aetna’s use of encryption please visit this website

Steps to open your secure message:
  1. Please double click on the attachment labeled securedoc.html to begin the process of decrypting your message.
  2. When you open the attachment you will see Aetna’s secure envelope.  This envelope contains your encrypted message.  There are two ways of opening the envelope.

    Preferred method:

    By clicking the “open” button you will be offered the opportunity to download a
    small application (applet) that will enable you to open the message directly on
    your computer (c: drive).  By choosing this option and selecting “always” any
    future messages that you receive from Aetna will be opened on your computer
    without further installation.  This method may take a few extra minutes initially
    (depending on your machine and the speed of your connection to the internet), but overall will result in faster / more efficient message retrieval.

    Alternate method:

    If you cannot, or choose not to download the application click on the link
    labeled “here”.  This option will allow you to open the secure email without having to
    download anything to your computer, but may result in slower retrieval of your
    secure message.

Saving your message:
  The securedoc.html that you clicked to begin the process actually retrieves a key from Aetna which is used to open (or decrypt) your message.  The key will expire in 90 days.  If you would like to save your message for later review, you should save a copy of the unencrypted message.

  How you save email will vary depending on your email service.  If you are unsure, please use  the help function of your email service and look for topics like: saving, saving messages, storing messages.

One Response to “Why ATT’s Push For IMS Should Give Level 3 a Significant Business Opportunity”

  1. on 16 Mar 2007 at 7:49 pm Gordon Cook

    When I posted the above to my mail list attorney Scott McCollough commented:

    Thanks for the kudos for Data Foundry\’s work on privacy and security. We think that the privacy implications of DPI will ultimately carry the day when it comes to the Net Neutrality debate. (Aside; we at Data Foundry have never really been excited about referring to the issue as \”Net Neutrality\” and use it only because everyone else seems to. Our phrase was \”Customer Choice in devices, applications and services used in association with high-speed transmission\” or \”customer choice\” for short. And we started beating that drum long before NN was cool. We have some significant concerns about the specific approach taken in some of the bills and the fact that most NN proponents want to claim that NN is not \”regulation\” and can be accomplished without using common carrier concepts. This is pure prevarication. It IS regulation and applying common carrier concepts is really the only way to ensure it works. Otherwise it will be \”gummed to death\” just like the ILECs wore down the 96 amendments and Computer Inquiry You need a bright line. The only alternative — which I like, frankly, but cannot coherently articulate any better than Bob F. himself is Frankston Fundamental Free my Facilities [\”FFFF\”]).

    I do want to comment on encrypted email and other like applications. While I encourage everyone to encrypt — it just makes sense — not everyone knows how to do this. And, the consequence of users encrypting when they use a Whitacre Tiered network is easy to forsee: they go to the slow lane. Besides, some of the newer iterations of DPI routines (perhaps not IMS per se) claim to be able to \”see\” encrypted content. I doubt they can actually decrypt, although the vendors expressly say their product allows encrypted content to be automatically stored for later brute force analysis. These new DPI routines can certainly observe that there is encryption and assign network resources according to the network owner\’s prescribed criteria. Block. Slow. Capture, Divert and Store. Send Copy to Attorney General Gonzales. Charge Extra Just to Transmit.

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