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Oct/07

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Comcast really does block BitTorrent traffic after all | The Iconoclast – politics, law, and technology – CNET News.com

Comcast really does block BitTorrent traffic after all | The Iconoclast – politics, law, and technology – CNET News.com

Here is another example of the fallacy of “The Internet” as a single entity. In many ways the Internet is like a hologram. What you see depends on where you are. Many web sites will charge higher prices to you if you are coming from certain countries or certain zip codes. In this case, certain kinds of communications simply don’t work if you are a Comcast customer.

The problem here is really informed consent, or false advertising. Users of Comcast reasonably assume that if they buy an “Internet” connection, they will get a connection to “the Internet”. I think most reasonable people would assume this to include the use of any Internet applications or protocols which are not behaving in an illegal or abusive way. Comcast has been very closed mouthed about their actual policies for what and when they block access to services or content.

The fact that competition for broadband in many markets is more theoretical than real makes this particularly concerning.

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5 comments

  • Anonymous · October 28, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Just to play the devil’s advocate, a case could be made for Comcast assuming that BitTorrent traffic is both illegal (because while there are myriad legitimate uses it is often used to download copyrighted video and audio files) and abusive (because it consumes the lion’s share of Internet traffic).

    Reply

  • Wraith · October 31, 2007 at 10:37 am

    There is a way around this. What Comcast is actually blocking is Bit Torrent SEEDING. All you have to do is set your client to encrypt your outgoing Bit Torrent traffic and the problem goes away.

    Reply

  • mispruima · January 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I do not trust you

    Reply

  • BootLoop · January 16, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Comcast doesn’t block BitTorrent traffic. Yeah, and I’m Jesus Christ.

    They do block BitTorrent. Even for downloading Linux ISO files. They send TCP RST packets (reset, meaning “connection unavailable”) and you’re now invisible to the seeders. I tried downloading a Debian sid DVD ISO to run in VirtualBox and it looked nice at first… Transmission-GTK was showing “50 of 55 seeds, ETA 21 min, 2.1 MiB/sec, 100 MiB of 2.3 GiB”… for about 2 minutes. Then the seeders started dropping like flies. Then 30 seconds later, Transmission showed “0 of 55 seeds, ETA 99 years, 23 hours, 59 min, 59 sec, 0 bytes/sec”… you get the idea.

    I alt-tabbed back to the LinuxTracker.org page, and lo and behold, Comcast injected a JavaScript exploit into the LinuxTracker page which covered the entire page saying that I could be PROSECUTED for downloading “illegal software????” Brian Roberts needs to read the freaking GNU GPL. But NO, I could be arrested for downloading an OPEN SOURCE OPERATING SYSTEM.

    Reply

  • The Looming End of Network Neutrality and How to Protect Yourself · The Privacy Blog · December 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    […] big ISPs have a long history of abusing their near monopoly status. Way back in 2007, I wrote a blog on how Comcast was blocking BitTorrent traffic. Despite their repeated denials, the Associated Press was finally able to prove that they […]

    Reply

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