Can ISPs track all online actions of its subscribers?

Drsunil V April 2, 2014
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Can Internet Service Providers know every online action of it’s subscribers?

  1. Anonymous
    April 5, 2014 at 12:09 am

    They are out to get you— for everything you do and for everything you don't.
    The nerds and geeks of USA took their eyes off the ball during the 90s and early 2000s.
    The US financed Netistatsi filled he holes and did the rest.

  2. Achraf A
    April 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Technically, yes, but practically, I don't think they have any interest in doing so unless the FBI is actively searching for you, in which case you probably wouldn't be asking this question after all ... anyway, here's the thing:

    Tracking every subscriber's information flow would be an expensive task both on the hardware required (tons of storage, say Google and Facebook combined) and a lot, and I mean a LOT of networking and infrastructure engineers (much more expensive than the hardware, actually) and finally, what's their interest in knowing everyone's daily activity on the Internet after all? Nothing, except they'll ruin their reputation, just in case.

    Second, if you're using SSL (HTTPS) websites (today, most are, including Google, Facebook, Twitter ...) or connected through a remote VPN server (connected through another ISP network and, preferably, in a country not-so-politically-good with your country ... I mean, yeah) than all your ISP will be able to see is what URL you are requesting (or the VPN server address) and tons of useless megabytes of 256-bit encrypted pieces of data which is pretty much useless for anything other than eating their local bandwidth and storage, thus costing them more money than you're probably paying them for Internet access.

    Third and lastly, the legal contract that binds your relationship with them most likely limits what they can do to nothing closer than "spying" on transferred data, unless they're presented with a court order.

  3. anonymous
    April 3, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    What do you expect? if you heard of a company called Blue Coat Systems Most ISP's have Blue Coat PacketShaper and Proxy SG devices installed in their network infrastructure. Blue Coat is well known to be used by ISP's, governments and enterprise for security, censorship, logging and yes internet surveillance and spying. I should know as I personally own a Blue Coat Proxy SG800-1 my self for my web hosting and cloud storage project. T he NSA has contracts with Blue Coat Systems and I'm they are using NARUS, Packet Forensic, and Blue Coat Proxy SG devices referring to the X-BlueCoat header in the Xkeyscore leak slides that Edward Snowden leaked. You can tap a fiber line on a Tier 1 or internet back bone and can install a proxy in transparent mode so that it acts like a web server like Facebook to intercept and decrypt web SSL communications. ISP's are known to use Blue Coat devices like the Proxy SG to monitor and track your online activity and also monitor and do traffic shaping with PacketShaper. Blue Coat Proxy's can decrypt SSL. https://citizenlab.org/storage/bluecoat/fig1.jpg

  4. Hovsep A
    April 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    About CCI
    http://www.copyrightinformation.org/
    The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) was formed as a collaboration between the content community and Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to educate consumers about the importance of copyright protection and help them find better ways to enjoy digital content.
    if concerned may be virtual private network (VPN) a solution for you. The ISP wont be able to identify the data since will only see the volume of encrypted data transited to and from your pc.

  5. Oron J
    April 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

    It depends on your definition of "can". Technically, yes. Since they have physical access to your connection to the internet, they can "see" anything that goes through, but there are other limitations.

    First of all, you will have a contract with them, which will state what they can and can't do. They will also be operating under certain legal constraints, so they can't do anything they like (and in some countries they will be required to monitor and log certain activities).

    By and large, ISPs don't want to monitor individual users, apart from blocking certain types of traffic (for example, limiting torrent downloads). Monitoring communications is resource heavy both in human and machine costs, and the main fruit of such monitoring is resentment from customers - not good for business!

    Secondly, if you use encrypted communications (for example, HTTPS, SSL) then they'll be able to monitor the source & destination of the "conversation", but not the content. If you use VPN to protect your privacy, they'll be able to monitor and log the communication with the VPN server, but they won't know either who you are actually communicating with (because as far as they're concerned, you're communicating with the VPN server) nor the content of the communication, as it's encrypted.

    However, as the Snowden affair demonstrated, it's possible to get around many of the protective measures taken by both users and service providers, so your question should really be "who do I want to hide my activities from and how much do I really care" rather than concentrate on ISPs.

  6. Bruce E
    April 2, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Because of their position in the system, it would be simple to track everything done by an ISP's subscribers. This is why the electronic trapping equipment is put into the ISP's datacenter when a warrant is granted in criminal investigations in the US.

    • Drsunil V
      April 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Thanks. I understand. ISPs in countries outside US also have to comply with 'trapping equipment'?

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