Filter This! - Throttling BitTorrent
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P2P traffic is a prevalent source of revenue loss for ISPs because they must deliver excess traffic to a minority of P2P users while the majority of their customers suffer a decrease in network performance. Here's what one ISP had to say about the situation:
Just because you pay 49.99 for a 1.5-3.0mbps connection doesn't mean your entitled to use whatever protocols you wish on your ISP's network without them provisioning it to make the network experience good for all users involved.
Comcast was recently found to be practicing a discriminatory form of Internet filtering that interferes with their user's file sharing capabilities. Specifically, Comcast has been forging "TCP RST" packets, which send messages that are invisible to the users from both ends to the other's PC, telling it that it wants to stop communicating.
This may seem like justified comeuppance for those using BitTorrent for illegal content sharing, but BitTorrent is a budding source for sharing legal content as well. For the responsible users, the web site torrentfreak.com offers a handy tutorial on BitTorrent encryption (for three specific clients) that they say "works well in most cases."
But the situation for P2Pers only gets worse: the head of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), Dan Glickman, recently gave a speech bemoaning the effect of media piracy, which costs film studios $6 billion annually (apparently he's running out of $100 bills to use as toilet paper). His solution, you guessed it, is ISP filtering. And companies are already stepping up to the plate to give the studio heads even more control than digital rights management (DRM).
Earlier this year, AT&T announced its plans to filter copyrighted content. Through its purchase of Vobile and subsequently, their product VideoDNA, which can be used for content tracking and management, AT&T is at a prime starting point for a potent P2P video filter. And because they own major parts of the U.S. Internet backbone, their policies could spread nationwide.
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