Net Neutrality Works Both Ways: What Happens When Websites Block ISPs?
from the there-are-no-websites-left-to-browse dept
While lobbyists on both sides of the aisles have muddied the issue, the network neutrality debate centers on whether network operators should be able to block or degrade competing video or disruptive voice traffic. Less discussed is what would happen if a popular website blacklisted ISP customers, in retaliation for the ISP doing something the website disagreed with. After discussion with anti-piracy officials, Swedish broadband ISP Perspektiv decided that they didn’t want their broadband users accessing the Russian discount music store AllofMP3.com, despite the fact that the controversial website claims it is completely legal under both Swedish and Russian law. In response, Swedish Torrent tracker The Pirate Bay has decided to block Perspektiv broadband users from accessing The Pirate Bay’s website. While The Pirate Bay may have good intentions, holding uninvolved customers hostage is a dangerous position to take. Some anti-spam organizations believe that collateral damage is the best way to get an ISP to stop harboring spammers, so they’ll blacklist entire swaths of IP addresses in order to force non-spamming customers to complain. That tactic has been violently debated for years without consensus, and the only way outfits such as SPEWS get away with it is by remaining anonymous. One can only imagine the broader network neutrality impact if everyone erected blockades to settle digital disputes. AT&T bans Google video to hinder U-Verse competition, Google bans AT&T DSL customers in kind, and pretty soon the Internet is little more than a cratered out highway, riddled by vendettas.