When word got around last week that some BellSouth DSL users couldn't access MySpace, we noted that the swift online reaction (or overreaction) illustrated that ISPs who did block popular sites wouldn't be able to get away with it for very long -- particularly with the heightened awareness of net neutrality. Apparently Cox didn't get the memo, as users that install security software from a company called Authentium it provides them haven't been able to access Craigslist for several months. Since part of the Cox media empire's business is based on classified ads, some have jumped to the conclusion that Cox must be actively blocking Craigslist, but as Broadband Reports points out, the reason -- as in the BellSouth-MySpace case -- is more likely error or incompetence than malice. So while crying wolf every time a broadband user can't reach some site might highlight people's reactions should ISPs actually begin blocking sites, it really doesn't help the cause of net neutrality to associate its proponents with knee-jerk, and ultimately baseless, reactions. In any case, the idea of internet providers actually blocking sites completely is pretty slim -- they'll just use traffic shaping or other technologies to throttle them to the point that they're useless.
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