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Comcast: woe to anyone talking about P2P filters

Comcast: woe to anyone talking about P2P filters

Comcast Corporation, the second ISP and first US cable television, embroiled in the scorching controversy over filtering data traffic on sharing networks, certainly has its work cut out in keeping good reporters and consumers who are putting a strain on these days. PR and customer support. The task is so heavy that it was necessary to properly instruct the employees of the departments, with an imperative – it would have been said in other times – categorical: anyone who talks about traffic shaping and related topics gets kicked out .

To reveal the existence of this “code of behavior” – which should never have reached the public – is ars technica, which speaks directly the employees to whom the confidential directive is addressed “Management has informed us that anyone who discusses this matter with a consumer or associated press will be fired,” said an anonymous technical support employee.

“I believe the company is implementing Sandvine technologies to save bandwidth for many reasons” says another “repentant” who confesses the probable motives of the “Comcast Thing” behind an imaginary screen, then listing these reasons: “Number one, to improve network integrity for call quality on the Comcast Digital Voice service and for more HD channels. The second reason is to conserve the bandwidth exploited by data providers (Cogent, Level3 and AT&T) and basically to save money ”.

The anonymous employees blurt everything out , also some of the internal communications by which society dictates the commandments instructions to those who have to deal with embarrassing questions from outside. “If a customer contacts us to inquire about the matter, please use the above arguments,” reads one of these messages, which then lists: “Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent.”

“We respect the privacy of our customers and do not monitor specific consumer activities on the Internet or track individual online behavior – continues the email – such as the websites visited. Therefore, we cannot know if a single user is visiting BitTorrent or any other site ”.

No specific monitoring, Comcast replies elusively, skilfully dodging the main point of the dispute, that is the upstream censorship of data packets circulating on certain ports or network protocols, for whose control in fact – Comcast should know – no specific monitoring of web activities is required of users but only ad hoc devices, interposed between customers and the external Internet.

“We have a responsibility to offer all our consumers a good online experience – says the mantra designed to answer meddlesome questions from the press – and we use the latest technologies to manage our network. (…) This is normal behavior for ISPs and network operators all over the world ”justifies the corporation as it has already done in recent days. At the most, the traffic is watermarked in order not to excessively penalize customers who are not interested in P2P, thoughtfully suggest from Comcast, as is normal.

A stance that according to the anonymous deep throats contacted by ars Tecnica basically serves to hide the real extension of the shaping policies adopted by the company, which evidently, comments one of these insiders, “thinks he can get away with it” by harming users and reporters with the fairy tale of the right and fair gang for everyone’s needs . But then, one of the tech support wonders, “why hide all this stuff if they hadn’t done anything wrong?”.

Alfonso Maruccia