Comcast Gets Sneaky(er)

Interesting piece at Machinist on Comcast’s underhanded attempts to shape network traffic by blocking certain kinds of customer-generated traffic without their knowledge. Accessing a given, non-copyrighted resource such as the King James Bible via BitTorrent from a Comcast-connected computer may fail, while accessing the same file from a non-Comcast host may work fine. What’s going on? Comcast is apparently running bots on its network that masquerade as P2P client machines, which send false “hang up” messages to both ends of a P2P communication. In other words, Comcast is not treating all network traffic equally – they’re controlling and managing the activities of their users however they see fit – and they’re doing it without letting their users know. This sums up the paradoxical position that providers like Comcast are in:

Providers … have an incentive to reduce peer-to-peer traffic on their networks. But they can’t do so openly because, remember, a lot of people only pay for services like Comcast in order to use peer-to-peer programs.

If consumers ever needed a clear example of why we need net neutrality written into law, they need look no further. The free market isn’t going to shake this out – not when you’re dealing with things like cable companies and their virtual monopolies.

Music: Cibelle :: Train Station