What Else Is Comcast Jamming? Gnutella? Lotus Notes?

from the might-help-to-be-a-little-transparent dept

After the AP confirmed that Comcast was clearly blocking some aspects of Bittorrent, Comcast continued to issue its oddly worded denial statement about how it doesn't specifically block access to any application or content. Of course, that can mean different things to different people, and as the EFF is discovering, perhaps Comcast is being half-truthful in saying it doesn't specifically pick on BitTorrent trafffic. However, that's only because it's doing similar kinds of blocking on other types of traffic, such as content using Gnutella or even Lotus Notes. The EFF has been running a variety of tests and has found that Comcast appears to send forged reset packets for Gnutella, and it points to someone else who found the same thing for Lotus Notes.

Of course, Comcast can do what it wants on its network, but to deny it and not be even remotely transparent about it is pretty questionable (and potentially a violation of FTC rules). Once again, this is the type of thing that wouldn't happen if there were true competition in the broadband market. If people knew that Comcast was arbitrarily cutting off what they could do on their network with no indication (and, actually, actively hiding the fact that they were doing so) many people would look for alternatives. The only problem is that there often aren't any alternatives. Even in the cases where there are, the alternatives often include one other player: a telco like AT&T who seems to be gearing up to do the same thing as Comcast in blocking certain types of content online. It really is a simple question, though: why won't Comcast tell its own customers what it's blocking? When you find out that the company is blocking completely legitimate applications and services with no recourse (or even information admitting it), it's really quite troublesome.

Filed Under: bittorrent, cable, gnutella, lotus notes, network neutrality, traffic shaping, transparency
Companies: comcast, eff


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  1. identicon
    Daniel Lammert, 22 Oct 2007 @ 9:25am

    Notes Traffic Manipulation Confirmed

    I am a Notes/Domino Admin and can confirm the findings that comcast is manipulating the notes traffic on port 1352. The thing is though, that comcast seems to be doing this only in selective markets and only some of the time. We have a wide variety of field service engineers based out of the home office using comcast. Only some are effected and of those individuals only some of the time.

    I spent a couple of hours troubleshooting with one individual in the Philadelphia comcast market that was experiencing the symptom where any email over approximately 2.5Mb he would try to pass through to our Domino server would basically time out.

    Doing further investigation I was able to confirm (using the wireshark packet sniffer) that he was being sent RST packets by comcast basically telling the server and client to drop the session. These RST packets were made to look like it came from the server but doing traffic analysis on the server side, the server definitely was not sending them out.

    I opened a PMR with Lotus technical support and they are just as frustrated as I am. They are aware of the issues specific to comcast and are cant do much because the problem is not on their end and comcast wont even admit they are doing any thing to the traffic stream. I can confirm that comast is lying by my traffic captures. Bastards.

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