Another open letter to Perftech, Inc

I just noticed that this press release has been added to your website:

In it you say:

The content of a requested website is never altered, never modified or even touched in any way, and cannot be observed.

Please explain to me how this is anything but a bald-faced lie.

Most of my fellow native English speakers would certainly consider the insertion of announcements or advertisements into the HTTP responses of other websites to constitute "alteration", "modification" and "touching" of that other website's content even when the website's original data is not actually removed.

Perhaps you are using some strange new definitions of the words "alter", "modify" and "touch" with which I was previously unfamiliar?

You claim:

The subscriber-requested page is fully rendered and fully accessible, scrollable, and viewable.

Yet your applications page says:

Allows MSOs and other ISPs to provide their subscribers with Web content, Instant Messaging, and newsgroup FILTERING as a network-sourced service...
(emphasis added).

You say:

None of the Internet content ... passes through the Bulletin System...

This is hard to believe given that something must detect and parse an HTTP response from a remote website so that the local advertisement can be inserted into the data stream and the HTTP headers updated (HTTP object length changed; MIME parts added or changed; etc).

Or perhaps your "Bulletin System" consists of merely the computer on which the ISP composes the messages to be sent, separate from the device that does the actual modification of customer traffic?

If Perftech goes out of business, you should pursue a job writing carefully worded -- torturous, one might say -- denials on behalf of the Bush and Cheney administration.

And you say:

The intent of this platform is to facilitate a dialogue between Providers and their customers: to keep the subscriber informed in order to improve his/her service, to convey emergency information when necessary, and to announce new services.

But what about this on your "applications" page:

Allows providers to deliver advertising-related bulletins from third-party vendors...

Your platform is indeed stimulating a "dialogue" between Providers and their customers, but it is taking a very different form than the one you probably had in mind.

I understand that your "position" page is propaganda for the general public while your "applications" page is marketing material for your prospective customers at the ISPs. But both are publicly available, and you really should have spent a little more effort to avoid blatant contradictions between the two.

Phil Karn, 12 December 2007