Comcast tries p2p throttling


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I guess this is the entertainment industry’s vision of the future: ISPs that interdict file-sharing. Bravo to the AP’s Peter Svensson for a troubling bit of investigation that produced two pieces today, one on Comcast’s practice of sending bogus reset messages to p2p users in the act of uploading, and a sidebar suggesting how Comcast was doing it.

What bothers me about the stories is that Comcast appears to be taking SafeMedia’s approach to anti-piracy, to wit, wholesale blocking of material regardless of the legality of the distribution. That kind of behavior helps fuel the push for Net neutrality. Not surprisingly, the folks who favor Net neutrality regulations -- including Public Knowledge and Free Press -- jumped all over Svensson’s revelations. Said Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge,


‘There is a right way to manage traffic and a wrong way. The right way is to let consumers know how much bandwidth they can use, as companies in other parts of the world do. The wrong way is to take control of a consumer’s computer to throttle their use of the network that Comcast simply doesn’t like.’

One of the main reasons lawmakers and federal agencies have cited for not imposing Net neutrality requirements so far is the lack of evidence that telecom companies were discriminating inappropriately against different kinds of online traffic. Funny, but evidence seems to be streaming in from Comcast, Verizon Wireless and AT&T -- three of the strongest opponents of neutrality rules. Now let’s see whether the Senate Commerce Committee takes up the suggestion by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to hold hearings that could lay more groundwork for a bill.