EFF Launches Net Neutrality Tool

    August 4, 2008

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has introduced a new tool that allows users to find out if their ISPs are throttling their P2P files.

The new "Switzerland Tool" will reveal if a user’s network connection has any restrictions on it from ISPs.

"It’s up to concerned Internet users to investigate possible network neutrality violations, and EFF’s Switzerland software is designed to help with that effort," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney.

"Comcast isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, ISP to meddle surreptitiously with its subscribers’ Internet communications for its own benefit."

Switzerland is an open source, command-line software tool designed to detect the modification or injection of packets o f data by ISPs. The tool detects changes made by software tools believed to be used by ISPs such as Sandvine and AudibleMagic, advertising systems like FairEagle, and a number of censorship systems.

The software is currently geared towards sophisticated Internet users, but the EFF said it plans to make the tool easier to use.

"Until now, there hasn’t been a reliable way to tell if somebody — a hacker, an ISP, corporate firewall, or the Great Firewall of China — is modifying your Internet traffic en route," said Peter Eckersley, EFF Staff Technologist and designer of Switzerland.

"The few tests available have been for narrow and specific kinds of interference, or have required tremendous amounts of advanced forensic labor. Switzerland is designed to make general-purpose ISP testing faster and easier."