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Comcast impersonates users' computers to block internet file sharing
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday October 19, 2007

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Comcast subscribers have been complaining since last summer that the country's second-largest Internet service provider is deliberately cutting off peer-to-peer file sharing. Now a study by the Associated Press has confirmed those reports.

Peer-to-peer networks can be used for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials but also have many legitimate uses. File-sharing is now estimated to account for as much as 90% of Internet traffic, and many ISP's attempt to preserve bandwidth by slowing it down.

The Associated Press found that Comcast is using an even more drastic method, which can prevent file-sharing almost entirely by sending fake messages to both computers involved in a peer-to-peer transaction, telling them to drop the connection.

Comcast is not blocking its subscribers' downloads, only their uploads. This means that non-Comcast subscribers all over the world who seek to access those files may be the ones hardest hit.

Posters at the technology geek website Slashdot generally believe that the real problem lies in the fact that ISP's have over-promoted bandwidth-intensive services beyond what the current infrastructure can handle and are now trying to artificially limit the use of those same services rather than acknowledging the need for upgrades.

The following video is from The Associated Press, broadcast on October 19, 2007.



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