January 8, 2008

A Net Neutrality Investigation Pending [6:41 pm]

FCC to probe Comcast data discrimination - Yahoo! Newspdf

The Federal Communications Commission will investigate complaints that Comcast Corp. actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday.

[...] The FCC’s response will be an important test of its willingness to enforce “Net Neutrality,” the principle that Internet traffic be treated equally by carriers. The agency has a broadly stated policy supporting the concept, but its position hasn’t been tested in a real-world case.

The FCC’s policy statement makes an exception for “reasonable traffic management.” Comcast has said its practices fall under that exception.

“The question is going to arise: Are they reasonable network practices?” Martin said Tuesday. “When they have reasonable network practices, they should disclose those and make those public.”

See also F.C.C. to Look at Complaints Comcast Interferes With Net and, much more importantly, AT&T and Other ISPs May Be Getting Ready to Filter. Also AT&T’s New Love for Copyright

At a small panel discussion about digital piracy here at NBC’s booth on the Consumer Electronics Show floor, representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and telecom giant AT&T said the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.

Such filtering for pirated material already occurs on sites like YouTube and Microsoft’s Soapbox, and on some university networks.

Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright.

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