Another ISP Content Block That Isn't

from the settle-down-people dept

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.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Yet another Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 7th, 2006 @ 9:34am

    But shaping may be a bluff...

    Does anyone realize that it will cost the big telcos a wad to implement traffic shaping? I've dealt with a big one in the recent past, and had to spoon feed them with QoS requests on an MPLS WAN.

    I cannot imagine they have the spare engineers available to actually implement this idea.

    Ergo, this is a pure bluff: "I'm going to pay a bunch of money to hurt you if you don't pay us off!"

    This makes no sense.

     

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      g, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:58am

      Re: But shaping may be a bluff...

      The technology for traffic shaping already exists and they already have it. All major network tools for management have features to allow shaping and path priorities based on traffic type.

      As for individual sites, they can do that as well. This isnt science fiction, its doable now. They just need to turn it on and start tuning.

       

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    DJ Twiztid, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 9:58am

    yay for drama

    More technology drama....I thought that stuff was supposed to be on TV like the young and the useless?! I guess. It keeps people entertained to the point where maybe a few care. But then again I'm not into the MySpace fad. I personally could care less about how many people I could cram on my friends list or have people read about my life. That's what you spend time with your actual friends are for. But that's me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    myspace.com rules!!!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward x 2, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:06am

    Craigslist.org rules too!!!!!

     

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    Bruce, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:51am

    Blocked!

    Hey, I can't get to Techdirt. I'm blocked by BellSouth! It's Verizon! It's the NSA!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Howard Stern rules!!1!!!ONE!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      Mike Shizzle, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      Hey, I can't get to Techdirt. I'm blocked by BellSouth! It's Verizon! It's the NSA!


      Dude, if you're going to make a joke on a site with lots of nerds, atleast make it technically accurate.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 11:06am

    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.



    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.



    that makes one wonder though...if this has been going on for several months and as you say the idea of internet providers actually blocking sites completely is pretty slim dont you think they would have fixed this issue by now? maybe, released a patch or a workaround or something along those lines, instead of just keeping quiet and not doing anything to resolve the issue. no action on the part of cox for several months does make it seem as if they are doing it on purpose.

     

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      Carlo, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      As far as I can tell, the problem is caused by the free security software Cox offers its broadband subscribers... so perhaps the overlap between people that install it and people that are aware of/want to use Craigslist isn't too high, or those that it did affect just uninstalled the software.

      I think the point's still valid, though, since several sites are publishing "COX BLOCKS CRAIGSLIST!!!!" posts with the usual drama.

       

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    Stern Fan, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 11:56am

    re:

    Howard Stern rules!!1!!!ONE!

    No, Howard Stern sucks. He takes a big payday (don't blame him for that), and expects all of his listeners to follow him to Sirius where they get the "privilege" of paying to listen to him "doing sub par radio" (Direct Stern quote)

     

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      Yet another Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 7th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

      Re: re:

      If you want a real radical DJ, try Steve Jones.
      Streaming for free on Indie1031.com from Noon to 2 PST (GMT-8 for the rest of the world), Windows Media or MP3 formats.

      He was lead guitar for the Sex Pistols, plays music from his own collection, plays live himself, and has occasion guests that would never grace Howard's domain, from the Richard Branson to the Suicide Girls.

      Be brave and check out some real radio for a change.

      PS: I'm just a fan, I'm not getting paid to say this.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------
      BTW, I still think the telcos won't cover the labor cost to turn on the shaping.

       

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    Mike Orr, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 6:14pm

    Net Neutrality and QoS - some basics

    With out going into the politics of "Net Neutrality", it is worth noting some basics:
    1. Carriers sell me my 3mbps DSL and Sell my target site its 155Mbps (or whatever), so in theory, its all paid. However, in reality the business model assumes I will *on average* use much less than 3Mbps, and in a way the carrier sells the same bandwidth multiple times.
    2. To be able to meet an agreed (or acceptable) level
    of service, the amount of "overbooking" is limited, and
    sensitive to the nature oif the traffic involved. So if I
    raise my average consumption and "really" try to use
    the 3Mbps I think I paid for all the time, the carrier
    has to do less overbooking. In other words, in such a
    case, It is more expensive for the carrier to stand up
    to the promised service I am getting.
    3. So - what to do? Raise consumer price to account for
    my higher-than-expected consumption, even tough
    it is within my already-promised 3Mbps? hard. So -
    4. Caririer wants to raise the price of the target sites
    that "cause" this more-than-expected average
    5. Also (carrier says), these target sites make lots
    of money, and the price per Mbps they pay is the
    same as less heavy users - they can afford it, let
    them pay.
    6. So, in my mind, this is not a sinister lets-block-sites
    play (tough it may become so someday). This is more
    about trying to charge as much as possible. Since
    everyone buys the same thing - Bps - it LOOKS
    better to charge more if I claim there are Classes of
    bits, each with a different price

    So, as the average site becomes more multi-media heavy, and the average consumption rises on this conversation, this directly impacts the carrier's traffic model, and if forced to live up to some agreed SLA, more Bandwith must be given to me

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 5:32pm

      Re: Net Neutrality and QoS - some basics

      It is fraudulent to offer a particular service level for a particular price and then use surreptitious methods to avoid delivery, even if you can buy off the regulators.

       

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    Mike Orr, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 6:18pm

    (apologies for typos etc - am a bit dyslexic)

     

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    |333173|3|_||3, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 8:19pm

    Shaping

    I would be surprised if there is no shaping to reduce the priority of data going to 56k user than to Cable/ADSL2+ users, since the speed with which they can download is lower anyway, it would improve matters for higher bandwidth customers without significantly affecting 56kers. Obvoiusly this would only be nessesary at peak times and in certain areas, but it could still be usefull.

     

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    Mike Orr, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    Shaping - not necessarily a bluff

    Current switch chipsets easily do shaping of Ehthernet traffic, by pport, by flow and so on. This is true even on relatively cheap units.

    Main issue of uing it is the logistical cost for configuring the "right' shaping to apply.

    However, using some standard gradess (Say "bronze", "silver" "gold' and 'Platinum') and applying them per user is relatively easy, so I think ISP's/Carriers can do this, if allowed.

     

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    Mr. Blackwell, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 10:09pm

    What can I Do

    I hate Cox the most. Cox Blocks all my ports. All 65,500 or so. Hell, they even band me from the site http://www.stupidcensorship.com. Im 24 years old with no kids, and they are trying to tell me what I can and can't watch or view. And I pay for this *%&#! Now your gonna tell me I gotta pay more to get it uncensored. What can I do?

    P.S.Soon, people will be paying for air to breave. Or Die

     

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    CommunistVeganPotUser, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Booooooring

    Yeah, everytime someone can't do something online, it's always immediately published AS FACT by every PUBLICATION that we now have EVEN MORE PROOF THAT THE MAN IS KEEPING US DOWN! Yes, just google the phrase, once, "Computer problem." See, all those listings? Yeah, each one is probably associated with someone complaining about the person providing the goods or service as being responsible. As far as bit-shaping goes, it takes roughly two or three seconds for a person to detect whether an internet connection is suffering bit-shaping or non-net neutrality.

     

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