This year’s eG8 logo bares a striking resemblance to the free and open source packet sniffing software Ethereal. Packet sniffing refers to the process of inspecting the contents of packets, the unit that describes the sets of information that make up digital communications networks such as the Internet. Packet sniffers are used for debugging and optimising network protocols, but can also be used to intercept, prioritize or filter network communications.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the host of this year’s eG8 Forum, will be leading a charge to increase government control of the Internet, using the rhetoric that centralisation is necessary to develop a “civilised Internet”. I can’t help but feel the similarity of these two logos is a sobering reminder of the implications of Sarkozy’s proposal; even though it is unsurprising to see another Internet gatekeeping manouvre by a sovereign power. At the end of the day, there is always Gilmore’s Law to consider.