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The Internet Government Politics

Congressman Tells Comcast, Hands Off BitTorrent 304

An anonymous reader writes "Just a few months back, the Net Neutrality debate was all but dead. Luckily for fans of a free Internet, the telcos are their own worst enemies. Recent stories involving Verizon Wireless blocking pro-choice groups, AT&T censoring Pearl Jam's anti-war comments from a streaming concert, and most recently, Comcast finally admitting to using anti-BitTorrent filters. The Net Neutrality debate would appear to be alive and kicking, with Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) being the first politician to make a public statement sharply criticizing Comcast's actions."
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Congressman Tells Comcast, Hands Off BitTorrent

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:36PM (#21115379)
    Comcast Tesll Congressman: We Own Your Colleagues

    Comcast has politely reminded this wayward congressman that in America laws are paid for by bribes. Comcast then offered the congressman a "campaign contribution", silencing his dissent. The system works.
    • by camperslo ( 704715 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:44PM (#21117319)
      Comcast has politely reminded this wayward congressman that in America laws are paid for by bribes. Comcast then offered the congressman a "campaign contribution", silencing his dissent. The system works.

      That is why F.C.C. rules should be changed to ban paid-for political ads on radio, tv, satellite and cable.
      They should bring back the old rules where broadcasters commit on their license/renewal applications to a minimum amount of public affairs programming (which could included free political time) and limits on the maximum number of commercial minutesper hour. Broadcasters could pick their own numbers, but could be at a disadvantage at renewal time if a competing applicant wants to do more to serve the community.
      What I suggest is not a restriction on free speech, only a restriction on what broadcasters can accept payment for.

      Most of the corruption we see with our politicians relates to them selling out to obtain money for campaigns. Eliminating money from the picture for radio and tv would certainly lessen the need to raise money for campaigns.

      We should go back to earlier much more restrictive rules on how many stations a licensee could own. I think we should go beyond that and require that some specified percentage (perhaps increasing over time) of stations in a region have licensees that live in the city-grade coverage area of their station. Having local licensees would go a long ways towards making broadcasters more responsive to serving the needs of their local communities.

      Having a free and diverse press and broadcasters and a free flow of information is essential for democracy to function properly. We should not allow any corporate or special interest groups to own a sizeable chunk of our broadcast stations. These stations are supposed to be trustees of the public interest, not just cash cows for large companies.
      • by Santana ( 103744 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:35PM (#21118009) Homepage

        Mexico has approved a reform to the current electoral legislation which does something similar.

        The last presidential elections were so full of spots on TV that were more about bad mouthing the competitor than proposing solutions. A lot of money had to be raised and compromises were made by the competitors for sure.

        The winner is the one who has the deepest wallet.

        From now on, candidates can use only the government's paid time on TV.

        The media is going crazy of course because they won't get a lot of money any more for the spots, and they're masquerading this worry as a "free speech" violation (because they won't be able editorialize the campaign coverage in any form)

        It's not a coincidence that Dong Nguyen Huu has said that the Mexican electoral system is one of the most advanced in the world. Let's see how it goes.

  • Great start (Score:5, Funny)

    by martin_henry ( 1032656 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:39PM (#21115421)
    As a Comcast customer in Virginia, I am glad that Congressman Boucher is taking a stand for net neutrality. Mostly because I need to get my share ratio back up.
  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:43PM (#21115487)
    Am I the first to notice that Comcast may have removed the filter? Last night I started the Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon DVD download. I thought it would be done this morning, but I noticed the network switch still blinking like crazy. I logged in and checked the status. The download is done. I checked the upload status...

    1286 K uploaded at a rate of 20KB/s. This is the first time in weeks I have seen upload speeds better than 0.0 KB/s and a transfered size larger than 0.1 KB. Since I am finally able to help spread Ubuntu, I'll let it run all day. Maybe I'll be able to upload more than I download for a change. Seeing any upload traffic after a completed download is highly unusual on Comcast lately.
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bucky0 ( 229117 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:44PM (#21115493)
    Guys, if we want to win the argument on Net Neutrality, we can't keep confusing QOS with NN. If they want to indescriminantly block bittorrent, that's QOS. Saying that QOS runs afoul of NN means that later Comcast can say, "Look, if you enforce net neutrality, we won't be able to do QOS on our networks which means that internet tv will be bogged down"

    NN is preferential shaping based on the source of the data. QOS is preferential shaping based on the type of data.
    • by _14k4 ( 5085 )
      I know... but this one type of data comes from only, really, one source: "OMGCOPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!!1" So, really, it's NN, no? :P
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

      by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:52PM (#21115615)

      Completely blocking an entire protocol isn't QoS, Qos is about giving priority to certain types of traffic that need lower latency or more bandwidth, an example would be VoIP which needs low latency to not become useless.

      What Comcast has been doing is outright blocking an entire protocol, sort of like how some ISPs block their users' ability to use SMTP, mostly outbound but in some cases inbound as well. The difference being that there is a good reason to block outbound SMTP, it may be a PITA for those trying to run their own mail server but at least the reason isn't so much direct greed as it is to protect the network at large from zombie machines trying to spam the rest of the net...


      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alistar ( 900738 )
        If you are fine with them blocking SMTP to protect their network from zombie machines running large, why is it wrong for them to block bitTorrent to prevent their network from grinding to a halt. (Arguements of "unlimited" internet aside)

        Both have legitimate and devious uses.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by CoreDump01 ( 558675 ) *
          Because blocking / restricting SMTP and throttling / blocking virus infected clients is actually a good thing and a service to the internet community.

          Filtering (or throttling into uselessness) a protocol to lower the overall bandwidth consumption is only done because the ISP in question oversold their pipes too much and is not investing enough money into upgrading and maintaining their networks.

          It is done to cover up greed and is an anti-service to their customers and the internet at large.

          Leaving t
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:30PM (#21116231) Homepage
        Actually, they're not blocking an entire protocol.

        They're actively resetting ANY TCP connection that involves uploading significant amounts of data for more than a few seconds.

        There have been numerous reports of this killing Lotus Domino connections too, and I wouldn't be surprised if I found lots of complaints on the SmugMug forums about people being unable to upload pictures if they were on Comcast. (Same traffic patterns - lots of upload for a while.)

        Still, anything that involves resetting/blocking connections is not QoS. I don't think people would care if BT were the "bottom of the barrel" and was superseded by any other traffic type - it would still be wicked fast at 3 AM. The problem here is that Comcast is actively killing connections regardless of what the actual status of the rest of the network is, instead of taking advantage of TCP's built in congestion control mechanisms to slow things down.

        I worry that if done wrong, legislation will be passed that even forbids QoS, which will make things really bad for both users and ISPs. The legislation would have to have wording that QoS is OK as long as the "bottom of the barrel" protocols are able to use full bandwidth when no one else is using the network.
        • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:43PM (#21116441) Homepage Journal

          The ironic thing is that this is more likely to hurt people who download files by FTP or HTTP than BitTorrent. It should not be hard at all to tune BitTorrent use a larger number of shorter-lived connections. Of course, doing so would basically bring down Comcast's network pretty hard, as it would increase the overhead of BitTorrent traffic fairly dramatically.... I wonder if they've thought about what they are likely to create by doing this....

          • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:34PM (#21117979) Homepage
            I fully agree. There are plenty of workaround approaches to Comcast's brain-deadedness, many of which will result in increased pain for Comcast in the long run.

            For example, the easiest workaround would be to use a custom transport mechanism layered over UDP which includes authentication for connection management (i.e. there's no way to spoof the equivalent of a TCP RST.) The problem is that a LOT of research has gone into TCP congestion control algorithms in the past two decades, and the initial implementation of any custom congestion control scheme will likely be FAR less "fair" than TCP is.

            Unfortunately, most current secure transport schemes were only designed to protect data from eavesdropping, not to protect against denial of service attacks against the connection. For example, SSL and TLS both need to be layered above a reliable transport layer (usually TCP), and it is TCP itself that Comcast is attacking.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paradigm_Complex ( 968558 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:53PM (#21115639)
      There's definately some blurring between the two. There's a problem if I payed for my internets and don't use internet TV or phone or the like, so my bandwidth is shot because my interests are considered less important. If Internet TV or Internet Phone or whatnot require X amount of bandwidth, have people pay for that much bandwidth, don't suck it out from other paying customers. QOS is a subset of NN - so yes, QOS will take a blow if NN is enforced. As it should be. My bits are just as important as the next guy.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

        by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:31PM (#21116255)
        "My bits are just as important as the next guy."

        Yes but your bits aren't as large as the next guy's so you'll have to compensate with a cool car.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:00PM (#21115767)
      fine if they re-prioritise (VOIP/games before bitrorrent/FTP) and traffic shape (websites/IPTV/etc. work normal, BT runs slower) stuff when necessary (peak hours), but when they're sabotaging a protocol all the time for no good reason, that ticks me off and shouldn't be allowed.

      my personal idea of NN is "don't shape by origin/destination ever, shape by traffic only when absolutely necessary".
      • Agreed, and the solution they've chosen to use (I.E. sending end packets) doesn't even allow them to keep track of how much traffic users WANT to send.

        End result they won't know if their network can handle 15% of user demand or 5% and eventually they won't care!

        Their IT guys go home thinking that the network is only using 40% of bandwidth because they killed everything that might use more bandwidth, also they're attacking upload... which doesn't make any sense since they buy syncronous links to the net.
      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        my personal idea of NN is "don't shape by origin/destination ever, shape by traffic only when absolutely necessary".

        That seems like a fair policy. But the broadband operators aren't likely to give up on billing the endpoints. To quote Willie Sutton [wikipedia.org] "That's where the money is."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xigxag ( 167441 )
      NN is preferential shaping based on the source of the data. QOS is preferential shaping based on the type of data.

      That's a nice soundbite but it's an oversimplfication.

      If I'm using up the majority of the bandwidth on my block downloading files, and Comcast decides to throttle me, they're doing QoS, even if they're just totally throttling my speed without regard to the type of data.

      They also are doing QoS if they throttle my uploads, although it's preferentiial shaping based on the source of the data, namely
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
      Comcast's treatment of goes even farther though, they simply terminate the stream. It's one thing to have it slow down or lower priority than other services, but halting or ending transfers is a different matter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )

      If they want to indescriminantly block bittorrent, that's QOS.

      Not unless they're equally blocking ALL other P2P protocols, including those used by major companies...

      What if they were blocking SIP (Vonage, et al.), but giving a high priority to their own company's proprietary, non-SIP, VoIP protocol? Gee, if you'd just license the technology from them, you too can get high-priority on your traffic...
    • by Wildclaw ( 15718 )
      From my viewpoint, QoS and End Point Differentiation are just two different parts of Net Neutrality. If a company are using their own protocol, ISPs can blackmail that company by threatening non neutrality. If a company is using their own IP, ISPs can blackmail that company by threatening non neutrality.

      Just because QoS can make it easier for some network administrators, doesn't mean that it doesn't have anything to do with neutrality. Calling only one of those two net neutrality is just as stupid and idiot
      • by bucky0 ( 229117 )
        I agree with you, I think it's just a problem of semantics. There are legitimate uses of QOS. If we lump "QOS" into the NN debate, then ISPs will just retort, "Well, what about [legitimate QOS use]? If NN is enforced, we won't be able to do it anymore" We need some way to differentiate legitimate QOS from underhanded QOS.
    • Not Qos (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @02:29PM (#21117115)
      "Guys, if we want to win the argument on Net Neutrality, we can't keep confusing QOS with NN."

      If we want to be able to have a conversation at all, we need to stop confusing QOS with fraud. QOS sets attributes in packets which are designed to establish priority. Fraud (in this case) means posing as the customer and sending a fake message, then lying about sending the fake message.

      For example, if a telco decided to cut sampling rates on telephone calls from 8khz to 7.6khz for residential service to customers of other carriers, that would be quality of service (QOS). If, on the other hand, the carrier were to use their equipment to dial everyone who called you who was not a customer of the same carrier, spoofing your phone number on caller ID, and using a voice filter which made their voice sound enough like yours to be convincing, and telling them "Don't call me anymore. Stop. I don't want to hear from you for at least a week. Got it? Yeah, I mean it. Stop calling for a while. Don't take that tone with me. Just stop calling. Yes, this is me. Who else would I be? Now Stop Calling." And then told you that they would NEVER do such a thing. That would be fraud.

      Since telcos are being trusted with our identities (phone numbers, IPs, etc), our privacy (which they'd never violate without a warrant, as we've seen), and the functioning, as generally intended and advertised, of the Internet, character means something in this context.

      I hope this helps us get our terms in agreement, so that we can have an argument, or even a conversation, on NN.

  • Too late for Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:45PM (#21115507) Journal
    At least, from my perspective [gornall.net]. I'm not a huge user of P2P, my ire is more directed at the violation of the principles that founded this 'internets' thing. If we let company-interests direct the future development of the internet, we may as well give up now.

    What *did* annoy me, after the decision was taken, was that my difficulties with ichat [apple.com] over the last few months seem to be similarly down to Comcast policies.

    I use iChat a lot to keep in touch with my family (all of whom have Macs, and 4-way video-conferencing can be pretty cool). There's several thousand miles between us, so this is one of the few ways we can actually see each other without major travel.

    Until a few months ago, it all worked great. Now, I get less than a minute of great picture, and then everything breaks up. I was putting it down to transatlantic bandwidth issues, but then I tried it from work, and (lo and behold) had no problems whatsoever.

    I pay (not for long, now though, the T1 arrives in 2 weeks) for the most bandwidth Comcast offer, and I cannot believe I average even 1% of that bandwidth. To have them limit me when I *do* want to use it, as a deliberate *general* policy of theirs, is infuriating. All I can do is cancel the service, and hope others do too. Eventually, hopefully, they'll get the message. Not everyone can cancel due to the monopoly they hold in some areas, but perhaps enough can to make a difference.

    Now a T1 used to be a lot of bandwidth, but it's not so much any more (1.5Mbit/sec is pretty poor by advertised-bandwidth standards). I'm willing to trade off the small time-periods I actually can use that advertised bandwidth for the reliability of always having the smaller amount - it may not work for everyone, but it works for me :)

    And so, Comcast lose another ~$200/month. Hopefully part of a trend, because won't anyone think of the network ? [grin]


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by murrdpirate ( 944127 )
      The monopoly is what irritates me. If someone set up their own ISP without the government, I think they're free to do whatever they want with it. But if we're giving them a monopoly, I think we have some say in the service.
    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:03PM (#21115805)
      The problem is that broadband providers really do have a monopoly. In any given area, you have dial-up (56k), a single cable (8mbps) provider or a single DSL (768kbps to 7mbps) providers. While every city varies, you can usually get dial-up in 100% of the area, cable in perhaps 70% of the area . . . but DSL in only a small percentage of the area. At least if you want speeds that are even remotely comparable. If you don't live down the street from the local CO, you are going to get speeds that are difficult to tolerate. And of course, phone companies have bandwidth and usage concerns, too. They aren't selling you a dedicated service anymore than Comcast or Cox or Shaw is.

      What really annoys me is that my tax dollars are used to provide these "utilities" with a limited sanctioned monopoly for the supposed public good, yet they don't offer services that address the whole public. If you really only intend your $65/mo service to be for grandmothers who use the account for email and checking up on their local church and the occasional amazon service, then offer a more expensive account for people who want heavy use and connect to work via VPN, back stuff up to remote servers, connect to colo hosted systems, use bit-torrent, watch lots of streaming videos, etc.

      And for people who want to know "how in the hell do you use so much bandwidth?! 30gb should be more than enough!". Well, just downloading a few popular podcasts will do it. Especially now that they're HD quality. Diggnation, Crankygeeks, DL.TV, Totally Rad Show and a couple others downloaded every week at an average of almost 500mb each comes out to about 12gb per month right there. And that's if you aren't acquiring them via bit torrent where you'd have some overhead as well as at least 6gb to 12gb in upward bandwidth. So right there, you're at 24gb. Just to keep up with half a dozen weekly podcasts.

      Throw in a couple people at your address listening to a lot of streaming radio. Watching streaming movies and news. Downloading five to ten gigs of demos on Xbox Live and Play Station Network. Perhaps connecting to your office with VPN and VNC to use your desktop. That's quite a lot of bandwidth. For completely legitimate purposes. And we haven't even touched things like using remote backup services that you can find online or downloading linux ISOs or the other streaming services like Vongo, Netflix and Amazon Unboxed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Myopic ( 18616 )
      All I can do is cancel the service, and hope others do too.

      That's the most likely thing to do, and a very appropriate consumer-level response. If all consumers would take that simple step, then we would even need alternative measures. But since most people are willing to shut up and deal with crappy service and marketing lies, we do have other possible reprisals. For you, you might consider a lawsuit, especially one in small claims court, where (if I understand correctly) you would argue with a regular huma
    • so, Comcast lose another ~$200/month. Hopefully part of a trend, because won't anyone think of the network ?

      I think it is [quote.com]
    • You're doing precisely the same thing I would like to do. Can I ask what the monthly rate is on the T1?

      I need more upstream than Comcast will supply so I can run a server and VPN. Plus the bittorrent performance has been horrible lately :(
    • by antdude ( 79039 )
      How much are you paying for your T1? I am surprised you even bought it for residential usage. Unless you're sharing its cost or running a business.
  • Isn't it strange... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teutonic_leech ( 596265 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:50PM (#21115579)
    ... that we actually cheer when a politician we put into office for once stands up and protects our [fill in civic right of your choice]? I mean, when did things go so bad? (rhetorical question) It's sad that we all have gotten used to a status quo where our elected leaders work hand in hand with big business and constantly screw us over. I don't care what political affiliation you have - just take a step back and look what's going on in our country. I do feel very strongly about net neutrality but must also concede that it might be the least of our problem right now. Nevertheless, it is one of thousands of important issues that needs to be addressed and coming next election day we all should do our part and 'kick the bums out' (not my quote - start hearing that very frequently on Hardball recently). Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I'm trying to make a point here, which is that we need to take a step back and rebuilt our democracy - it's ridiculous that we continue to desperately grasp for a few breadcrumbs from an administration that's blatantly in bed with big business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by east coast ( 590680 )
      it's ridiculous that we continue to desperately grasp for a few breadcrumbs from an administration that's blatantly in bed with big business.

      I think you need to put your political affiliations aside if you simply want to point the finger at this administration as far as their track record on rights.

      Sure, it's worse now than it has been in the memorable past but it seems that with each new administration, regardless if they be the jackass or the elephant, sells their candidates on bringing new change abou
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DCTooTall ( 870500 )
        You know what I find kind of amusing about this whole issue with Comcast and Net neutrallity, and the current Political system?

        In many ways when it comes to the Comcast issue, people seem to be falling primarily into 2 main camps. Both are saying what they are doing is wrong, But some are saying "We need Gov'ment for force them to be net neutral." Others are saying "If you don't like it, Let your money do the walking, and go with another ISP."

        The funny thing is, that MOST people tend to agree
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jollyreaper ( 513215 )

      ... that we actually cheer when a politician we put into office for once stands up and protects our [fill in civic right of your choice]? I mean, when did things go so bad? (rhetorical question) It's sad that we all have gotten used to a status quo where our elected leaders work hand in hand with big business and constantly screw us over.

      Yeah, it really is sad that every new change has to be met with "Ok, so how are you fucking me now?" It really is a surprise when the answer is "No screwing, this is actually a good thing."

  • KISS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bendodge ( 998616 ) <bendodge@bsgpr[ ... m ['ogr' in gap]> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:50PM (#21115597) Homepage Journal
    I am personally against the current form of net neutrality. I think that government intervention is almost always bad. The ONLY regulations that should be passed:

    1. All common carriers must allow other providers to connect to them on a naked pipe
    2. All providers must support standard protocols.*
    3. Providers may only prioritize data/bandwidth based on protocol, not orgin/destination.
    5. No data/bandwidth throttling, only prioritization.

    *I'd leave defining "standard" up to ICAAN, with these additional rules:
    1. The protocol must be open - anyone can see how it works and get specs for it.
    2. Usage or modification of the protocol must not be restricted by patents or copyright.
    • 4. ????

      You do realize that would be a lot of government intervention, right? In fact, the reason why our state of affairs wrt broadband is because the government hasn't meddled enough. With the new ruling that DSL is an information service, you can say goodbye to Speakeasy, Covad, and all the other CLECs. It'll be DSL through your phone monopoly or cable Internet service through your cable monopoly. So long as the owners of the infrastructure sell services on that infrastructure, there will be no real c
      • I guess I just numbered wrong...sorry about that.

        It is government intervention, but it's a lot less than the massive document that is currently Net Neutrality.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stinerman ( 812158 )
          Well Net Neutrality has the right goals but goes about it in the wrong way. Instead of trying to control what the monopolies do, we should attempt to foster competition so that the user can choose which ISP they want. Enough competition will eliminate stunts like what Comcast is pulling. Government intervention is required in either case since we are in oligopoly territory right now. I like the one that will offer more choices down the road.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by KlomDark ( 6370 )
        6. Profit!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuzak ( 959558 )
      > 1. All common carriers must allow other providers to connect to them on a naked pipe

      You do realize that ISPs are not common carriers, right?

      > 2. All providers must support standard protocols.*

      Great, I guess the IETF can disband, since it's now the US congress that really vets standards.

      > 3. Providers may only prioritize data/bandwidth based on protocol, not orgin/destination.

      So the head end video distributor node can't pre-empt your xbox's background downloads? I'm afraid the reality is more com
  • Thankfully.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 )
    ... the big ISPs are so short-sighted that they are their own worst enemies when it comes to things like this.

  • Simple soulation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:51PM (#21115611) Journal
    There is a simple solution,

    If Comcast, Verizon, AT&T or anyone else blocks any content for any reason, they are (from that point on) legally liable for all remaining content. This is because the have made an effort to control the content crossing there service and by default must agree that all remaining content is acceptable.

    Then remind there legal department that it means "If you keep it up, we will hold you responsible for all the remaining content including but not limited to all the child porn, child predators, etc."

    In other words, they have violated the common carrier clause and thus are not protected from prosecution!

    Where is a lawyer when you need one?
    • by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:17PM (#21116001)
      Internet providers are not common carriers. In this case I wish they were.
    • by kcornia ( 152859 )
      It's funny, because if they try to run the "we don't know what the content is, we're just blocking the protocol", tell them they should just block all chat because that's what child predators use to lure young kids.

      What, some chat is not used for that so you don't want to block all of it? Interesting...
    • In other words, they have violated the common carrier clause and thus are not protected from prosecution!

      ISPs aren't common carriers in the first place. There a pretty big hole in your plan. :)
  • by ronadams ( 987516 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:53PM (#21115635) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Unfortunately for fans of Net neutrality, the congressman said he was not ready to go down this path and instead stressed market-based methods of fixing the problems.

    Thank God. There is an alarming trend among those who want to see a "neutral net" (a sentiment I agree with) to have "Dr. Government" fix it all. this is a slippery slope in plain sight; the idea of trusting the government to keep the net neutral doesn't appeal to me any more than having Comcast do it. What happens when the next elections come, and a new party/interest is in power? What happens when X lobby group petitions to sway the government's control of the network?

    Fortunately, we have this convenient mechanism called the free market, where an outcry of foul play means an increased demand for competition. I realize this doesn't mean overnight those in Comcast-only zones are given an alternative, but over time, it is possible.

    Now, when it comes to the infrastructure, the actual physical cables, etc., there's some room for talk as to whether the Government can have some limited intervention there, because we're dealing with interstate business and infrasturcture... but that's another story.

    • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @01:10PM (#21115887) Homepage
      You miss the point of those of us who are for government regulation. I'm willing to go with a totally free market where ISPs compete on service and price. The problem is that we need the government to step in and create a free market. Last mile connectivity is a natural monopoly (which is why you can't get POTS from anyone you want, nor can you get cable television service from anyone you want). The government should own all the pipes and allow anyone access to it at non-discriminatory rates. That is the only way you're going to have meaningful competition.

      This "hands off" talk assumes there is a free market already. There isn't, and the market will continue to devolve into an oligopoly until the government does something about it.
    • [quote]Thank God. There is an alarming trend among those who want to see a "neutral net" (a sentiment I agree with) to have "Dr. Government" fix it all.[/quote]

      Actually, a good function of government is ensuring that those who have power (near-monopoly cable companies) do not abuse it. If the big providers started doing this and persisted as a group, they could make it the standard. That is when the government of the people needs to step in and fix the issue. Just another reason why government has to be
    • The day they can compete is the day they don't need to run cables through public property. Until then, the government must step in and regulate, at the very least they need to regulate the laying of the cables. I'm not hearing many people anxious to give up on cable internet in favor of satellite internet. Therefore we must have a regulated internet.
  • What we really need is a truth in advertising law with some real teeth. I recommend public stoning for liars- doesn't matter to me if they are CEOs , politicians, or just advertising execs.

    Just what part of "unlimited access" in the contract do these ISPs NOT understand?
  • This is why net neutrality is a non issue. The carriers can't help themselves fucking off their customer base.

  • From the article, Congressman Boucher said that 'Comcast should "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less."' Why the hell should I have to pay more for even more unlimited bandwidth? The issue is not just that Comcast is crippling bitTorrent, but that they are doing so to try to make their false advertising look legitimate.
  • Congressman Boucher has been speaking loudly on various geek-friendly subjects for quite a few years, but his record at actually getting legislation passed suggests that he's carrying a Nerf-bat.
  • For those of you saying that a Tier based service system is "bad" because it will raise rates, look at it this way. Currently, you are NOT getting unlimited service, you are getting a soft capped service that is labeled as unlimited. The big issue is that you probably don't even know what that cap even is.

    Now a Tier based service may "cost more for unlimited" but it might actually BE unlimited.

    Simple Question: Would you pay $20 more a month for truely unlimited service of which you could even run se
  • Every time net neutrality comes up at Slashdot, a large part of the conversation is about what is NN and what falls under other concepts (like QoS). I can't help but wonder, if a community of nerds can't stay clear on the basic concepts needed to discuss this issue then how are governments expected to? If there are nerds who don't get it, then what chance do Alaskan senators have?

  • if you use Comcast DNS servers, you are also randomly being blocked from visiting www.google.com and the block is due to a reset command being sent from Comcast. Using a DNS server not managed by monkeys like opendns.com allows you back on Google. This has been occuring to people since Comcast started playing with BT traffic. Try a search of http://www.google.com/search?q=connection+reset+google+comcast&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a/ [google.com] to see some
  • by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:10PM (#21118457)
    Seeing that the last moneymaker for RIAA/MPAA is income from fileshare lawsuit judgements, the last thing they'd want to see is fileshare traffic throttled. Time for RIAA to sue Comcast for loss of income.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky