Comcast on the Defensive

Two weeks before the Federal Communication Commission meets to decide whether or not to issue an enforcement order against Comcast for throttling peer-to-peer traffic, not-for-profit group Free Press has accused the ISP of throttling P2P traffic not only when the network is congested, but whenever that traffic reaches a predefined level. Sort of like a golf club that allows a certain number of women in to keep the activists at bay, but no one beyond that number, even if the links are empty.

Free Press also said Comcast’s most recent network upgrades were a sham, with the cable company upgrading modems, but nothing in the core network. The interest group filed its statements with the FCC in response to filings Comcast made defending itself against the enforcement action. As Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice noted to me, the company has consistently admitted that it “manages traffic” (although it denies blocking it altogether). She also said that the ISP has a threshold beyond which it manages P2P traffic, but that 90 percent of the P2P traffic is unaffected by that management. Read More about Comcast on the Defensive

Internet Watchdogs Attack NebuAd

Two non-profit organizations, Free Press and Public Knowledge, have ridden down the data trail of ad insertion technology provided by NebuAd and declared that it violates “several fundamental expectations of Internet privacy, security and standards-based interoperability.” In a report published today, the two compare NebuAd to malware and accuse it of Internet wiretapping.

NebuAd provides a deep-packet inspection appliance that sits on the network of an ISP. The appliance tracks information about the type of sites a user visits and serves up ads against that information. The company got a lot of attention after Charter Communications signed a deal to test the technology. Read More about Internet Watchdogs Attack NebuAd