By PETER SVENSSON
NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.
The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users.....
......Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer — it comes from Comcast. If it were a telephone conversation, it would be like the operator breaking into the conversation, telling each talker in the voice of the other: "Sorry, I have to hang up. Good bye.".......
A ISP blocking someone from doing something is one thing if they make you aware of it, however interfering with a communication mid stream without any warning or notification is not a good thing. If some of you members are unfamialr with the principles of net neutrality I would suggest you educate yourself on it because this is going to be a hot topic shortly.
It's inevitable at some time in the future TV broadcasts, movies or communications such as talking on the phone will be done through the Internet. If you want ot talk to your friends or if you want to watch the latest episode of a show you won't have to wait until it comes on TV, you'll just be able to "dial" it up on your internet connection. Being that cable companies are the only ones with the infrastructure currently available to handle the bandwidth necessary for services like video that require a lot of bandwidth they are in the position to control what is or isn't available to you. There above example of not only blocking the use of an application but interfering with it mid communication doesn't bode well for the consumer.
Currently most major internet ISP's that provide internet connections to consumers have designs on breaking long standing principles of "Net Neutrality". In essence net neutrality means there is no discrimination given to different websites by a ISP. All things being equal you'll get the same speed from abc.com as you would from nepadigital.com. The speed may be hindered by network traffic or the websites server but its not purposely slowed down by the consumer's ISP.
ISP's wish to change this and want to provide preferential treatment to content providers for a fee. Sites unable to afford the fee will be locked down to a slower speed. Essentially restricting the speed between the pole and the house even if your plan allows for such speeds.
The obvious issue is that major media companies will be able to afford the fees and smaller operations will not. In turn the consumer will have fewer choices as to what is available to them on demand. The content will still be there but due to the restricted speeds they will be unable to access it at a fast enough rate even though that's what they are paying for. This would essentially put them in the same position they are now, being able to dictate what you can and cannot see.
On an even more sour note as demonstrated by the article I've linked to above they can and will restrict private communications between you and another party.
Currently there are no laws on the books that require cable or DSL based ISP's to adhere to the net neutrality principle but most do either fully or partially. Since March of 2006 5 five bills have been introduced into congress, all of which have failed to pass.
Next time you see this in the news pay attention because the future of communications will be decided by any such laws.