Craigslist Blocked By Cox Interactive

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In case anyone may be wondering what a world without network neutrality may look like, it could resemble the “Server Not Found” pages seen by Cox Interactive customers trying to access the Craigslist classifieds site.

When the network providers, the telecoms and the cable companies, haven’t been chanting their dedication to an open Internet, they have been funding lobbyists to encourage Congressmen to ignore the calls for net neutrality.

Silicon Valley Watcher’s Tom Foremski blogged about one example of a network blocking a site in a market where it has a vested interest. Craigslist has been blocked by Cox (motto: “Your Friend in the Digital Age”) since February.

Foremski happens to live near the Craigslist HQ, and wandered over there to chat with CEO Jim Buckmaster. They did indeed know of the problem. It had been going on since February, and Cox was blaming the Authentium security company for the problem.

Authentium has confirmed its software is blocking Craigslist, according to Foremski. Uninstalling the Authentium software, called the Cox Security Suite, has worked for some customers.

Of course that leaves the customer without a security suite in place, but there are a few very good firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware packages available for free or a low fee.

Then Foremski slips a little fireball into the conversation with Buckmaster, asking if he was aware Cox had a classified service that competed with Craigslist. Buckmaster wasn’t aware of that and responded, “That changes things.”

Indeed. However, before organizing the torches and pitchforks for a trip to Cox headquarters, it should be noted that IP Democracy writer Cynthia Brumfield has indicated the problem could be just a simple screw-up instead of Cox acting with malice aforethought.

That may be the case, as it was suggested in Broadband Reports, which cited a routing issue with BellSouth that left customers unable to reach YouTube or MySpace briefly.

The problem with this explanation, and the length of time Authentium has taken in not resolving the issue, should prompt our readers who work with access-lists on routers and firewalls to regard the screw-up theory with skepticism.

As Foremski noted with some disbelief, over three months is a long time to “delete some text from their blacklist.” We’ll go a step further and say three minutes is plenty of time to update a single entry in an access list.

Whatever the explanation, it’s going to be difficult for anyone at Cox or Authentium to explain the issue now, and be met with head-nodding acceptance.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Craigslist Blocked By Cox Interactive
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