Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

62 Federal Communications Law Journal 435 (2010)


Privacy concerns associated with information available on the Internet has become a central focus for policymakers in Washington, D.C., and around the world. Specifically, the use of deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to offer behavioral advertising on the Internet has become the focus of policy discussions. While there are legitimate concerns related to improper use of this technology, the benefits of the proper use of DPI should not be overlooked. This Note asks how increasing regulatory barriers to limit online behavioral advertising could affect the consumer's experience online. To answer this question, this Note first looks at what DPI is, who uses it, and what its purposes are. Second, this Note discusses U.S. court decisions and policy decisions, as well as international business trials that relate to DPI and behavioral advertising practices. Specifically, this Note looks at the actions of the Federal Trade Commission and Congress in responding to DPI. Finally, this Note proposes reforms for policymakers to consider when contemplating regulations for DPI. The Note argues that the benefits of the technology outweigh the harms, and cautions that limiting the ability to use behavioral advertising may also limit the online experience.