Comcast blocking some P-to-P traffic

Comcast can expect a lot more customers to come calling armed with hammers after fans of file-sharing get a gander at this Associated Press report that describes how the service provider is indiscriminately blocking peer-to-peer traffic.

And 'Net neutrality advocates will have a heavy new cudgel at their disposal, too, with which they are certain to pound the desks of lawmakers and regulators.

From the story:

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.

If widely applied by other ISPs, the technology Comcast is using would be a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks. While these are mainly known as sources of copyright music, software and movies, BitTorrent in particular is emerging as a legitimate tool for quickly disseminating legal content.

The biggest problem - I mean aside from the fact that they're doing it all - is that the method Comcast is employing is incapable of distinguishing between good (read: legal) peer-to-peer traffic and bad (read: music and video stealing).

There is no question that the ISPs - and their customers - have a legitimate issue to deal with in the voracious bandwidth appetites of peer-to-peer technologies.

The issue isn't a nail, though, and Comcast shouldn't be hitting it with a hammer.

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