The Good, the Bad,

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-08-07 Print this article Print

the Net Neutrality Detector"> As a man in the middle doing an impersonation, he wont see an acknowledgement. But because hes got a sniffer on the client, he can proxy over in JavaScript. Hes doing TCP acknowledgements over an Ajax tunnel, so that even though he doesnt see the acknowledgements going to the site being tested, he can see acknowledgements as theyre emitted by the client. "And thus, I receive them," he said. "I can do what ever I want."
And thus, network quality degradation will no longer be able to be done silently, he said. "Dont think people wont notice," Kaminsky said.
Kaminsky laughed while talking about his work, but hes dead serious about stopping providers from screwing up the level playing field for business online. "A level playing field is required for the basics of business. Problem is, its hard to make money on a level playing field," he said. "You can be a king maker. [Providers] can choose who or what other third party is going to make money, and that third party [could] be a worst solution by far, but they paid the most." Contrast that with a level playing field, where third parties all get access to the same level of network quality. In a level playing field, third parties duke it out until the best product wins. That model, Kaminsky said, leads to customers who are loyal, and everyone is happy. "If not, they wouldnt have used this third party," he said. "Carriers are threatening to abandon the model thats provided a steady sequence of successful, profitable, useful companies and replace them with whoever pays the highest bribe for reasonable service. "Provider hostility makes the Internet a place where you cant invest. You cant make long-term bets on a hostile network. As soon as you start doing well you dont know what the carrier will do." Kaminsky has come up with a goal: He wants to use the most obscure of his technical abilities to defend online advertising. "This is not something I thought Id ever say," he said. "But I believe a huge amount of the vibrancy of the Internet comes from commercial enterprise. If we go to a kingmaker model, nobody will be able to safely invest and all existing models will die on the vine. It doesnt matter if you create the best system. It doesnt matter if users really like you. Because someone else will show up and pay more than you will." And now, thanks to Kaminskys work, there is at last a speedometer to clock how fast providers are moving to rough up that level playing field. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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