GOT COMCAST ? Good luck to ya!

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Comcast Traffic Monitoring a Slap in the Face to Net Neutrality

From Wired, October 23, 2007
By Scott Gilbertson

As we’ve mentioned before, Comcast does, despite what the company says, limit BitTorrent traffic. The Associated Press recently ran some tests and discovered that, yes, Comcast does throttle BitTorrent traffic. So how can Comcast say it doesn’t throttle traffic when in fact it does? The answer is in semantics.

Comcast has previous told Wired News that “we do not block access to any applications,” it does however admit that it uses traffic shaping tools to “manage our network to provide a quality experience for all Comcast subscribers.” In other words, Comcast doesn’t block BitTorrent applications, but it does block BitTorrent traffic.

Now it would seem that the fun doesn’t end there for Comcast subscribers. The EFF reports that Comcast also limits Gnutella traffic and Kevin Kanarski claims that Lotus Notes traffic is similarly choked.

In all three cases Comcast’s limiting technique is quite insidious and would be difficult for the average user to notice. Comcast’s network monitoring tools (most likely Sandvine) sits between your connection and the outside world and sends reset packets to both both ends, disrupting your connection. From the the end user point of view it will merely look like your connection is slow. Very, very slow.

This is more or less the two-tiered internet that net neutrality proponents have long warned about. As the EFF writes:

If this type of conduct is allowed to continue, many innovators will have to get active assistance from an ISP in order to have their protocols allowed through the ISP’s web of spoofing and forgery. Technologies like BitTorrent and Joost, which are used to distribute licensed movies and are in direct competition with Comcast’s cable TV services, will be at Comcast’s mercy.

Until U.S. lawmakers wake up and realize that the two-tiered internet is already here, there are a few things you can do to outwit such traffic shaping policies. TorrentFreak has some suggestions on what you can do to avoid the Comcast roadblocks.

If you don’t agree with Comcast’s policies, you can always switch to an ISP that doesn’t use traffic shaping tools. However, in some markets Comcast is your only option, so for those of you stuck with Comcastic connections, here’s what you can do:

* Force protocol header encryption. See our Wiki entry for more details, but keep in mind that just enabling encryption isn’t enough, you’ll have to force it.

* Run BitTorrent over an encrypted tunnels like SSH or VPN. SSH is going to very practical in the long run, VPN is a better bet. We’ve got instructions that can be adapted to this scenario in the Wiki.

* Lower your download rate. Comcast’s traffic shaping won’t let you seed torrents unless you’re downloading them as well. Once the torrent completes, your upload will be choked off. If you’re using private trackers that force you to maintain a high ratio, make sure you’ve uploaded the whole file before you finish downloading it.

Our personal favorite idea, though we don’t recommend you actually do it, is to follow in the footsteps of Mona “The Hammer” Shaw, who, fed up with what she calls “a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles” grabbed a hammer and paid a visit to her local Comcast office for a little keyboard smashing satisfaction. Unfortunately, like Mrs. Shaw, this will probably land you in jail and, from what we understand, internet access in prison is monitored slightly more than Comcast’s network.

This article is from Wired. If you found it informative and valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their Web site and register an account, if necessary, to view all their articles on the Web. Support quality journalism.


This article is copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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OBAMA FIGHTING FCC FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES !

 | Brought to you by FREE PRESS, on the web at http://www.freepress.net


Obama Critical of FCC Plan to Speed Up Media Review

From Dow Jones, October 22, 2007
By Corey Boles

Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D- Ill., lambasted Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin for trying to rush through changes to the agency’s media-ownership rules.

In a letter sent Monday to Martin, Obama called the accelerated timeline proposed by the chairman “irresponsible,” saying the FCC had failed to take steps to encourage greater involvement in media ownership by minority and local interest groups.

“I object to the agency moving forward to allow greater consolidation in the media market without first fully understanding how that would limit opportunities for minority, small business, and women-owned firms,” said Obama.

According to FCC officials, Martin has circulated plans to wind up the FCC’s long-running review of its media ownership rules by mid-December.

A detailed plan for reform hasn’t been released yet. However, according to the timeline released to the other members of the commission, Martin plans to present his plan by mid-November and hold a vote on it a month later.

Obama is the second Democratic presidential contender to voice concern about the timeline. Last week, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said he opposed the notion of an accelerated review of the rules and “would do everything in his power to stop this proposal.”

The fear by the lawmakers is that a Martin plan could allow greater consolidation in ownership of radio and television stations, making it even more difficult for minority and women’s groups to achieve greater representation in these media.

In a statement released Monday, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the chairman of the powerful House Commerce Committee, urged the FCC not to rush to judgment in the proceeding.

“It is my sincere hope that the Commission will allow reasonable time for evaluation of the public input received on its media ownership studies and all of its public hearings before finalizing rules,” said Dingell.

The Democratic members of the FCC have long been concerned about the under- representation of these groups in media ownership.

Martin, too, has said in the past that he is not pleased with the amount of diversity currently on the airwaves. There has been some suggestion by analysts that his ultimate plan for reform of the complicated media-ownership rules won’t be as drastic as those put forward by his predecessor as chairman, Michael Powell, also a Republican.

Powell’s plan was subsequently rejected by an Appeals Court that told him he hadn’t done enough to justify his attempt to lift many of the media-ownership caps.

One of the rules that could be changed is that which currently prohibits the same company from owning a radio or television station and newspaper in the same market.

Martin has repeatedly expressed support for scrapping this rule. If it were removed, the sale of Tribune Co. (TRB) to real-estate magnate Sam Zell could quickly be finalized. Tribune Co. currently has several waivers from the cross- ownership rule, which would need to be renewed by the FCC in order for the sale to Zell to be approved.

This article is from Dow Jones. If you found it informative and valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their Web site and register an account, if necessary, to view all their articles on the Web. Support quality journalism.


This article is copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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