Comcast plays dirty

By MIKE MILIARD  |  February 26, 2008

Yes, says PCF's Dean Jansen, "certain types of network management are necessary." But "there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it." Comcast's technique — essentially impersonating the host at the end of a BitTorrent transaction and terminating the connection — would seem to be the latter. "One of the [panelists] from MIT said that basically Comcast is using hacker techniques."

"Our mission is to support independent creators and open media," says Miro co-creator Nicholas Reville. "One of the best ways that independent creators can reach an audience with high definition video — without huge bandwidth costs — is through BitTorrent. When companies like Comcast are blocking BitTorrent, they're blocking free speech, they're shutting down competition from independent creators, and they're putting up a needless barrier for independent voices to reach an audience."

The good news is that the FCC seems to get it. "While networks may have legitimate network issues and practices, that does not mean that they can arbitrarily block access to certain network services," said FCC chairman Kevin Martin. "The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today."

It's been noted that Comcast's BitTorrent management techniques are similar to those used by the infamous "Great Firewall of China." Is this on that scale? No. But America likes to advertise itself as a model of open and free society. We should want our Internet to reflect that.

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