Comcast Impersonates China and Gnutella, Too

    October 22, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Some of the uproar last week was regarding Comcast’s blocking of BitTorrent traffic, a move that, by itself raised concerns about the power over content and packets the cable company was usurping. Over the weekend it came to light that Comcast not only blocked BitTorrent, but also Gnutella and Lotus Notes.

Back in September, CNet blogger Chris Soghoian elegantly explained how Comcast was doing its filtering. They weren’t just blocking, but were impersonating BitTorrent, an act Soghoian says could be illegal, depending on which state discovers it.

Soghoian also noted how similar the impersonation method was to China’s "Great Firewall," and how that’s tantamount to censorship from an ISP.

The EFF has confirmed that is what Comcast was doing, and adds, thanks to Kevin Kanarski, Gnutella and Lotus Notes as entities Comcast has "impersonated" in order to block undesirable traffic. 

Luckily for not-interfered-with Internet fans (which is most of us, right?) the Electronic Frontier Foundation is on the case. Peter Eckersley writes:

It should also be remembered that in many parts of the United States, Comcast is a duopoly or even a monopoly provider of broadband Internet access. Competition might offer some protection against packet-forging ISPs, but under current market conditions, we can’t depend on it.

That means the other guy you might switch to doesn’t want any shred of legislated Net Neutrality, either. Russell Shaw at ZDNet sounds the Net Neutrality alarms this time:

Free markets can be fine, but only if everyone behaves. But sometimes companies don’t behave, and their competitors who you might wish to run to if you get too ticked won’t behave either. Sometimes there isn’t a competitor you can jump to.

I’ll say it again. Government regulation- as in Net Neutrality- is the only surefire brake against tech monopolists doing whatever they want with your packets and your money.