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
    Just Me, 22 Oct 2007 @ 10:49am

    Re #17

    "I hope Comcast and all high speed providers block any form of bit torrent.These programs ...are abused so much it clogs up the network with to much traffic.If you really have a need to pirate stuff..."

    I think this is the point you might be missing; just because someone is using a BitTorrent does NOT mean they are automatically a pirate and should be blocked/throttled vs someone else's serfing.
    I use BT all the time to backup apps and cd's I *purchased* or to download things that, while legal, are going to download faster via BT.

    It sounds like your argument is along the lines of "Most BT traffic is illegal so it's ok" but where does this end? How can you assume that because the traffic is BT it must be illegitimate?
    Some people use YouTube to post copy written material...so maybe we should throttle YouTube too. Heck the entire internet can be used for illegal activity - lets just cap everyone's traffic to 128mbps and be done with it.

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