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Monitoring traffic

This week's New Scientist magazine (p. 6) has a short column about Xacct
t5hat looks as if the journalists swallowed a press release whole and
have puked it up almost undigested:

"Using the Internet could become more expensive if service providers
adopt new software that allows separate billing for emails, downloading
graphics and streaming audio or video".  It desceibes an unlikley
scenario in which ISPs charge more per minute for high-quality video and
less for low-quality or email. I'm not sure the journalist knows the
difference between an ISP and a content provider. 

Yet another business that would be made obsolete by widespread use of
strong encryption.  Unless of course they mean to head that off at the
pass by making ISPs charge more to transfer encrypted packets?

When you look at their website http://www.xacct.com/usage.html you find
a description of what seems like a pretty normal system monitoring
application  (although I'm sure it is wonderfully written) surrounded by
what, when we were young and foolish, we used to call Marketdroid

"XACCTusage Family 

XACCTusage is a multi-source, multi-layer network usage metering and
mediation solution that gives
Network Service Providers (NSPs), including enterprise network
(Intranet) operators, the intelligence to
right-price IP services."

Enough to make your teeth curl.

The names of the people interviewed tickled my spoof detectors as well.
"Anil Uberoi" and "Charles Arsenault" sound distinctly dodgy on this
side of the Atlantic.

Ken Brown