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Comcast Admits Delaying, Not Blocking, P2P Traffic

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-yeah-thats-fine-then-nevermind dept.

The Internet 287

haibijon writes "The executive declined to talk in detail about the technology, citing spammers or other miscreants who might exploit that knowledge. But he insisted the company was not stopping file transfers from happening, only postponing them in certain cases. He compared it to making a phone call and getting a busy signal, then trying again and getting through."

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Sure, Comcast. (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083659)

On that note, I'm not "cancelling" my service with you. I'm merely "delaying" signing back up with your company (indefinitely).

Re:Sure, Comcast. (3, Interesting)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083703)

I think a more apt analogy would be something like, "I'm not refusing to pay my bill. Think of it as having the check returned for NSF and then having to resubmit it and it goes through." I'm sure that they wouldn't have a problem with that, considering all the Nigerian scammers out there trying to get your routing information.

Re:Sure, Comcast. (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084093)

You could always write a future date on the cheque so the teller refuses to cash it until then. It'll be like trying to call someone and the operator telling you the line is busy and trying again later and getting through.

Re:Sure, Comcast. (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084407)

I worked for a bank in college...you can't post-date a check. Specifically, it won't matter if you post-date it; it's cashed or deposited when presented.

Re:Sure, Comcast. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083747)

I wonder if they would accept their customers delaying their payments. "Don't worry Comcast. We're not STOPPING our payments. We're just DELAYING them."

Re:Sure, Comcast. (2, Insightful)

mindmaster064 (690036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084401)

The major problem is this is a classic man in the middle attack right out of the textbook. If I did this to a bank I would be going to jail. Who cares if it's traffic shaping or whatever? There are legitmate ways to shape traffic without manipulating the data path. This is a recipe for disaster when one of these transparent mediators decides to fail and inject garbage into the streams. Comcast is playing with fire here and they're gonna get burnt up with it. First it will be this, then it will be your World of Warcraft, http streaming videos from google or whatever. It doesn't just stop with bittorrent.

Slashdot delays (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083663)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Gah, Comcast is delaying my /. reading too :-/

"Postponing..." (4, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083673)

So they're not actually stopping the transfers, they're postponing them indefinitely.

*Sigh of relief*

Re:"Postponing..." (2, Interesting)

badenglishihave (944178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083773)

Interesting, seeing as I haven't heard of a case where someone was unable to use BT on a Comcast line so they tried again and it worked.

Re:"Postponing..." (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083903)

That's because when you "retransmit" a package, it's not the exact same package - it's a new package, really.

What we really should be worried about is why 'retransmitting' packages is so grossly mislabeled? Comcast clearly isn't at fault here. Who will think of the children?

Re:"Postponing..." (5, Funny)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084357)

it's not dead, it's resting ;-)

Re:"Postponing..." (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21084735)

Not it is not...

It is Pining for the Fjords.

I'm not delinquent in paying my bill (5, Funny)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083681)

I'm just delaying it...I tried to put my payment in the mailbox and there were other letters there so I waited until it was less congested....

Cool (1, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083685)

That'll please everyone trying to download the latest version of Ubuntu. Just to make sure this doesn't happen in the future I'll hammer the server directly.

But enough of my whining, Prison Break was on last night...

Re:Cool (2, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084119)

But enough of my whining, Prison Break was on last night...
And apparently now its on your computer. I guess someone isn't with Comcast.

He compares it to a phone call.... (5, Insightful)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083705)

I compare it to paying a gym membership, heading towards the treadmill only to be stopped by a trainer and told there is someone on it already. You look, see no one is on it, ask again and are allowed to use it. Sometimes the trainer comes over and tells you that you have to get off for someone else. Everytime you get off, no one else gets on. So you have to restart your workout whenever the trainer asks.

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083787)

what is this "gym" you speak of?

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083897)

I hear you have to go OUTSIDE to get there. Don't do it, it's too risky!

Oh, and tell mom to buy another case of Mountain Dew, I'm running out.

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (-1, Flamebait)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083933)

Except that, to extend your analogy a bit, you're going on the treadmill to lose weight to further identity theft. So complaints about the imperfection of Comcast's ethics don't quite qualify as the "major public relations problem" the article frets about, at least not in my corner of the public.

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084415)

What the fuck are you talking about? Identity theft?

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084557)

Yeah, that wasn't the world's greatest analogy but it's the best I could think of. If you have a better example of illegal activity enabled by a treadmill, feel free to provide it.

Re:He compares it to a phone call.... (-1, Offtopic)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084203)

What is this "gym?" Could you please phrase this in a car analogy, preferably one involving pizza?

Makes me wonder (3, Insightful)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083707)

if they are simply port blocking or doing deep packet inspection. If it is the former I would think it would be pretty easy to circumnavigate...if it is the latter....then I suppose SSL would be the solution.

Re:Makes me wonder (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083765)

SSL isn't going to protect against a man-in-the-middle attack unless you're verifying certificates. That means web pages are likely safe from manipulation by some intelligent equipment in the middle, but it seems unlikely that bittorrent nodes have certificates signed by a CA (otherwise, the device in the middle can just make its own self-signed cert as needed and you'll never know).

I'm pretty sure that equipment already exists which can do that for encrypted bittorrent traffic.

Re:Makes me wonder (5, Interesting)

norton_I (64015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084081)

Technically that is certainly true. You could make the legal argument that presenting a certificate as belonging to another organization if fraud.

Not that it matters for the moment. Comcast can't currently afford to intercept all SSL connections, inspect the certificate to see if they can forge it, and proxy the connection just to do packet inspection.

Furthermore, I think you can prevent that. Essentially, create a new "CA" key whenever you create a .torrent file, and include the public key in the .torrent. Then, on-the-fly build a chain of authority stemming from that key. Then, whenever you get directed to a new peer, the message includes a public key for that peer, signed by your current peer, and so forth. Even if comcast tries to join the network to disrupt it, they can't disrupt communication between nodes when the chain-of-authority does not use their keys, and if tampering is detected, their keys can be revoked, un-authenticating any bogus keys they have generated and signed.

Sounds like a fun project, actually, assuming it doesn't already exist.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084403)

That sounds like a lot of work. I think I'll just use another ISP. :P

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083823)

No they just (start) to throttle all encrypted communication. Didn't we hear about an ISP who did/does this?
And/or they buy a device like the netenforcer http://www.allot.com/ [allot.com] which the manufacturer claims can throttle torrent traffic.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084379)

If it was owned by the government they wouldn't be able to do that. Infringement on privacy and all that.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

muffen (321442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083841)

They are probably just using some type of QoS that throttles P2P traffic so it doesn't exceed X% bandwidth usage.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084037)

I think this would be preferable to what they are doing. Comcast is telling each side "The other side hung up". Limiting P2P to a certain % would still allow some P2P to happen. Then, night time would be a productive time to download a Ubuntu 7.1 DVD iso, for example -- no one is awake, no other internet traffic is happening, go for it.

If all ISPs did this, and advertised the percent cap...ok, my pie in the sky just fell on my head.

Re:Makes me wonder (5, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083979)

From what I understand, they are forging packets that make your BT client think that peers have hung up on you. Since they (comcast) are the man-in-the-middle, they can easily perform these types of attacks.

And that's what this is. An attack. QOS would just slow things down, this kills. I don't mind QOS. I do mind active damage.

It's time to take p2p to the next level - implementing some of the concepts of the old freenet (the encryption part) and make the traffic unidentifiable. Maybe move it to UDP and make it look like DNS. Or Skype.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084169)

what if they then just start denying any encrypted traffic outside of certain types? Oh sorry, 'dalaying' it? From what I understand its easy to tell if ssh is in use, what with the standard port 22 thing, just not easy to read it.

I doubt people could easily use ssh for bittorrent, since lots of people are on networks that don't do what comcast does, so if your seed isn't using it, you're screwed. Needing to use ssh would probably kill bittorrent.

I'm not an expert on encryption, but it seems to me they might be able to start saying only some protocols can be freely used, and deny everything else. That would also stop new methods emerging, since you'd need permission to introduce it to your providers system.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084431)

I don't mind QOS.

Why wouldn't you mind QOS? My traffic gets my speed damnit.

Re:Makes me wonder (2, Insightful)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084021)

To make a point in spite of killing my ability to mod, what happens when they just start wiping out encrypted packets next ? One cable started throttling encrypted traffic as well and basically killed vpn for every one.

The idea f this being a cat and mouse game should be absurd , they should stop mangling any data and design capacity to handle this issue. Move on to docsis 3.0 and then keep the uploads where they are , maybe see if bonding upstream channels are possible to loosen the network up a little.

The thought I have to play cat and mouse to help FOSS community when seeding debian torrents, just pisses me off. I pay for the high speed tier and I help the community with a service I paid for. To me this sets a dangerous precedence and it could make this an option for other companies who don't want to develop their networks to deal with the coming generation of applications that may need more bandwidth. When they start breaking protocols but leave spambots and bot nets alone I have a real issue.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084029)

Or, as in the case of my friend (who lives out East in the Maritimes [Canada]), neither. He was having trouble with his torrents (had recently switched to a new provider), and after a few days of utter frustration finally figured out what was going on.

The provider not only "delayed" traffic based on ports and header-checking, it also had a policy to outright block all encrypted traffic that wasn't coming over port 80. Downright stupid if you ask me.

Aikon-

Justice delayed is justice denied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083717)

Replace justice with internet.

p2p is my GOD-GIVEN-RIGHT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083723)

Man cannot tak it away !! If I want to steal, that is my GOD-GIVEN-RIGHT !! I am going to Hell anyway so I will do what I will do. God's will !! Who am I - who is anyone - to deprive me of my destiny ??

Can I get an Amen !!

AMEN, brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21084009)

Halaloula-halaloula

Interesting. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083727)

AT&T rolls out their FIOS and suddenly all these anti-Comcast articles start showing up.

Go ahead, mark it flamebait, I can take the karma hit.

Re:Interesting. (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083869)

AT&T rolls out their FIOS and suddenly all these anti-Comcast articles start showing up.

Actualy, ATT roll out is not important for most of the US as it hasn't hit our state, city, neighborhood, street, house yet. It's about as important to this as the rain in New Orleans or the fires in LA. It just happened to be near the same time frame.

The real issue is the new version of Ubuntu came out. The server mirror overloaded. My download died at 80%. I used the mirror because Bit-torrent would have taken days.... The following day I downloaded Gutsy in about 3 hours from the mirror. The speed test on Bit Torent was slower than dial-up.

If you are looking for a conspiracy, check this one out... MS investes in cable TV. Ubuntu Gutsy is due out. They recommend using a torrent to ease the load off the servers and mirrors. Comcast throttles Bit-Torrent.

Possible, Yes.. Plausable, no.

Re:Interesting (...speaking of FIOS) (3, Interesting)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084253)

It's possible to track FIOS rollouts merely by noting spam sources whose rDNS matches it, e.g., "*.fios.verizon.net". To date, this has been a 100.00% indicator of spam. For example, in the last few minutes, one of my mail servers has observed the following:

pool-70-104-193-136.nrflva.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-170-157-58.dllstx.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-178-175-162.washdc.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-180-67-156.tampfl.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-187-176-23.nwrknj.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-245-227-130.bstnma.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-245-247-31.nycmny.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-245-74-238.prvdri.fios.verizon.net
pool-71-251-69-183.tampfl.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-64-87-227.dllstx.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-66-1-223.washdc.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-75-227-248.bflony.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-90-121-2.ptldor.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-94-19-223.phlapa.fios.verizon.net
pool-72-95-136-185.pitbpa.fios.verizon.net
pool-96-229-80-50.lsanca.fios.verizon.net

That's a mail server with one user. Production mail servers with tens of thousands of users typically note 5000-10000 such systems every day.

So from here, it appears that new FIOS rollouts are being 0wned nearly as quickly as they're connected, and that they're staying 0wned. I'm sure the spammers are quite pleased with the quality service provided by Verizon et.al.

Re:Interesting. (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084265)

If I was Comcast I'd be mirroring everything under the sun, proxying almost as much, and have my own servers dishing out the most popular torrents, well I would if there really was anything to all the whining about bandwidth being expensive. If the operating methods were the proxy and mirror servers gets the fast-expensive backbone, and the non-proxy gets the slower-cheaper, they'd save tons on bandwidth expenses and users would be better served.

MS investes in cable TV. Ubuntu Gutsy is due out. They recommend using a torrent to ease the load off the servers and mirrors. Comcast throttles Bit-Torrent. MS has had a woody about getting into content provision for a decade or so, so it seems that MS and Comcast are as likely to be competitors as to be business partners. Look at it this way 10 years ago they bought an encyclopedia, next they started MSN, after that MsNBC, they are slowly working their up the food chain in typical Microsoft random hit or miss until something works fashion. If I were Comcast I'd figure what is bad for Microsoft would be good for me.

Re:Interesting. (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084309)

Intriguing. A friend of mine wanted to upgrade to Gutsy, and downloaded the iso in 2 hours using Bittorrent. Mainly due to all the people using BT to download it, it was coming down at breakneck speed.

I, on the other hand, am behind a college firewall... I would STILL not be running Gutsy, if I didn't already have the beta installed.

Re:Interesting. (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084473)

Intriguing. A friend of mine wanted to upgrade to Gutsy, and downloaded the iso in 2 hours using Bittorrent. Mainly due to all the people using BT to download it, it was coming down at breakneck speed.

My Bit-Torrent test was clocking at 0.3k. Dial-up is faster on a modem. Using a mirror was 2 orders of magnitude faster.

Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (3, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083745)

Sorry about that - oh, did your precious cargo expire?

What, you were transporting critical medical records via Torrent? and someone died? Too bad - we were preventing you from pirating movies / music / software.

See, the problem here is that they cannot know what is being transported. The protocol by itself is not bad. If that were the case, they'd have to block TCP/IP - as all bad things over the net come through via TCP/IP - of course - all good things come that way too....

Re:Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (2, Funny)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083777)

TCP/IP - of course - all good things come that way too....


Yes like my porn, and that order for my new wife.

Re:Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21083829)

If your transporting critical medical records via BitTorrent, then we've got much, much larger problems than Comcast.

Re:Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084297)

Probably but how about things like software updates for medical equipment?

Re:Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084639)

If your transporting critical medical records via BitTorrent, then we've got much, much larger problems than Comcast.
How else do you propose to get them to India?

Re:Merely delaying the packets - beyond the TTL (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084559)

It doesn't sound like a content-related issue to me, although I won't deny that that likely figured in.

It's a service issue for the other 98% of customers that see degraded service when 2% are constantly exchanging packets. I definitely disagree with the method, but it's obviously a problem. In the UK at least providers are honest about what they're doing, and they only do it during peak (evening) hours.

Delaying, not blocking my check? (1)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083779)

So I should be able to delay, but not block, my payment check to them?

Re:Delaying, not blocking my check? (1)

crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083813)

Sure. Post-date it to the year 10,000.

Re:Delaying, not blocking my check? (1)

apt142 (574425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084195)

Should you make one at all?

It's Craptastic! (1)

crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083781)

I never experienced it often enough when I was a Comcast customer, but it seems like my current RoadRunner connection works much better for BT downloads. Could just be me though.

Ok, I'm sufficiently braced for the "You're a bloody pirate!" comments.

Re:It's Craptastic! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083819)

Ok, I'm sufficiently braced for the "You're a bloody pirate!" comments.

      No, most slashdotters realize that you are doing all you can to fight global warming...

Re:It's Craptastic! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083901)

Ok, I'm sufficiently braced for the "You're a bloody pirate!" comments.
Man! Who hit you in the face?

First Class or Coach? (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083783)

This sounds a lot like getting the camel's nose into the tent. Once it's established that there are two or more "classes" of information, and those classes can be treated differently, there's endless opportunities to make some customers "a little more equal" than others. And charge them a premium, of course.

I'm thinking of an airline that's planning to ensure that if you fly coach, your bags will be the last ones off the plane.

Re:First Class or Coach? (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083955)

I'm thinking of an airline that's planning to ensure that if you fly coach, your bags will be the last ones off the plane.

You must be thinking of them all, then, since it was established in the discussion to that story that most airlines have offered these services for years already.

I've noticed this behavior (2, Informative)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083849)

I like to leave my Slackware downloads seeding just for the hell of it, and I've noticed that Comcast doesn't exactly block the traffic but does something similar to what this article describes. During certain hours (typically mid-morning and evening, roughly), all torrent activity will cease for a minute or two and then resume normally. This only happens at certain "peak" times and usually rather infrequently. Torrent speeds are generally quite good later on at night and on the weekends.

Not that I agree with Comcast screwing around with traffic and killing off connections, but they at least appear to be telling the truth here.

Re:I've noticed this behavior (1)

JeffHome (771206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084691)

I noticed this exact same behaviour for the first time over the weekend on the Bulldog DSL (Pipex) plan I am on here in the UK. Everything stops for up to a couple of minutes, then everything works fine. Whilst this is happening all other network activity appears to work as normal. I really hope it's not a trend with ISPs out there!

False advertising? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083851)

Does Comcast advertise very high transfer speeds? Because if they advertise that, knowing that they intentionally force lower speeds for some kinds of traffic, that sounds like fraud.

Re:False advertising? (1)

archen (447353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084147)

No, and pretty much all broadband companies are fairly clever with this. They all advertise that you can "download faster", watch video on the web, listen to music etc. Most of that is ambiguous stuff that you could do on dial-up but not with any practicality.

I'm about done with Comcast. Adelphia may have had incompetence end to end, I had to reboot my cable modem all the time, but at least I got what I got. Since comcast took over my connection speeds have dropped dramatically. Using Vonage is extremely frustrating at this point as the QOS is so bad. I purposly throttle my bittorrent downloads, and go through bouts of downloads on and off, now within the last week or so, bit torrent is dead altogether. And I still have to reboot my freaking modem. None of my problems conflicts with what they advertise it's just really really crappy service.

I pay for an 8mbps connection grandfathered in from Adelphia, but most speed tests show I get a max of 1mbps. It seems to me if I get verizon DSL and they lie and only give me HALF of what they promise then I'm still ahead. Honestly I'm an idiot if I stay with Comcast because it's also $50 more a month. And I've watched TV once in the last 3 years. At some point no one is going to stick with them unless they have to, but screw comcast I hope they go into the gutter: they deserve it. They wont of course because of the cable TV cartel, which is of course another reason they don't care because they essentially can't go out of business.

Re:False advertising? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084271)

Because if they advertise that, knowing that they intentionally force lower speeds for some kinds of traffic, that sounds like fraud.

You share the service with others. If BT degrades the experience for others it will be throttled back. If you want max speed schedule your gigabyte downloads for off-peak hours. This is not rocket science.

Re:False advertising? (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084681)

Does Comcast advertise very high transfer speeds? Because if they advertise that, knowing that they intentionally force lower speeds for some kinds of traffic, that sounds like fraud.

Yes and no. They do advertise this but their AUP/TOS states they can manage their network any way they feel like. So if they determine YOU are a problem, you can even be terminated up to 12 months at which you can re-sign on again.

Personally I'm going the other route. I'm fighting for competition to come in and knock some sense into these guys.

Comcast is still lying -- and not just about this (5, Informative)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083861)


As has been noted in numerous places, Comcast isn't just forging RST packets to disrupt P2P traffic -- they're also doing it to disrupt Lotus Notes traffic...which makes the "we're doing it to stop the bad guys" excuse a transparent lie.


Moreover, disrupting P2P traffic will have no effect on "spammers and other miscreants", as they have far more sophisticated, self-organizing C&C methods already deployed. (No doubt having anticipated that use of traditional P2P would leave them vulnerable to such countermeaures.)


But the truly galling part is that Comcast continues to repeat the same big lie they trotted out years ago: "We take the spam problem seriously". This is utter nonsense, of course; spam emission levels from their network continue to steadily increase, as they have for half a decade, to the point where their only serious rival for the #1 spot on the world's list of top spam-sending network is Verizon.


So what this episode tells us is that Comcast has the capability to monitor and modify traffic, but only chooses to do so when it might affect their profits -- not when it might could the unceasing flow of abuse outbound from their network.

Re:Comcast is still lying -- and not just about th (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083943)

Last friday they had a large layoff in their Ad sales division. I know of several people that lost their job there and many said they did this country wide, gutting lots of jobs.

Funny though, they did not trim the fat. Lots of middle management still there that really are not needed.

Me thinks Comcast is circling the toilet bowl. still on the outer edge but we all know the spiral is a logarithmic one.

I'm waiting for the next round on the CableTV side (oh yea it's coming!). I have a bunch of friends there as well and they give the heads up after the axe starts swinging.

cool part is my company can hire some incredibly talented people that comcast cast aside in their ignorance.

Re:Comcast is still lying -- and not just about th (1)

Doc Lazarus (1081525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084019)

I get that feeling too. When you call them nowadays to report a problem or change service, their call center's automated system has no problem with directing you to comcast.net (which is odd if you have a major problem) or simply hanging up on you. To add insult to injury, they have been advertising for more workers in my state for their call centers. I'm guessing that due to crappy service and horrible pay, nobody is taking them up on their offer. Comcast is circling the bowl. I wonder how long it'll take before they go bankrupt and hand over their operations to a decent provider. As it stands, AT&T DSL around here is a better bargain and without throttled connections.

Re:Comcast is still lying -- and not just about th (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084183)

Me thinks Comcast is circling the toilet bowl. still on the outer edge but we all know the spiral is a logarithmic one.
Nice pun, bad imagery. Very, very bad imagery.

Excuse me while I go find a goatse link to get that image un-etched from my brain.

Lets be realistic (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083893)

You don't like it leave. Its that simple. Maybe if Comcast customers started leaving in drones, Comcast would re-think their insane policy. Anything else is akin to whining like a child because you can't have the toy you wanted. If your phone company DID decide to pretend they were you and pick up and hang up your call what would you do. 1) Sue 2) Find new phone company. For those in a place where you're trapped in with solely one provider, I feel your pain. Maybe people need to start calling their local political representatives. Surely if anyone can take two to three minutes responding to this article or even my post, surely you can shoot off an email to a congressman or political dipshit to complain. Anything else, is whining.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083993)

You don't like it leave. Its that simple. Maybe if Comcast customers started leaving in drones, Comcast would re-think their insane policy.
Where I used to live, your only choices for high-speed Internet service were Comcast (it's Craptastic!) and AT&T "we love the NSA!" DSL Service. Since my apartment was far from the CO, that meant blazing speeds of 384Kbps! w00t!

Here, I have Road Runner service through Bright House Networks, and I do have to say my BitTorrent downloads have never been better. But it's still a case of Bright House, Verizon "we're screwing Vonage!" DSL service or wait (possibly indefinitely) for Verizon's "we screw our customers, too!" FIOS service.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084105)

Well it just sounds like you are getting f-ed by every company in your area. Lets see we are talking about a privacy article, You mention the NSA and AT&T. You also mention how you like free stuff because you are talking about Verizon and Vonage. What company out there would make you happy? Or will Ron Paul fix everything?

Look man life sucks some companies suck but you know what pick the one that sucks the least and go with that one. Or do not pick any and just live off the grid. I know people who do not have high speed internet they still have dial up or no internet at all.

It is like you want new tennis shoes because you WANT them but you hate how both Nike and Reebok use child labor. You know what you do in that case. Don't purchase the tennis shoes and purchase something else.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084621)

You also mention how you like free stuff because you are talking about Verizon and Vonage.
What free stuff? I like cheap stuff. I pay Vonage $24.95/month + taxes and fees for their VOIP service, which I have to say, is easily the best out there.

I'm complaining not about the companies, but the lack of choices. Competition is a good thing. When there is no competition, it leads to behavior like Comcast's (and Microsoft's ;).

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084143)

At least comcast is doing what is expected ( failing ), this guy deals with Verizon ( the phone book side ) and he is pissed www.idearcmediascams.com . If this guy had vision could be dangerous.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084097)

I've had high speed cable since it came into be. Across half a dozen physical locations, two countries and three states. I've tolerated the high price and stomached the constant price increases. But this may be it for me. If I can't use one of the finest protocols ever invented to download a large file in a completely legal and incredibly fair fashion then I think I need a new ISP.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084269)

For some, Comcast is the only options besides Dial-up.

Think before opening your pie hole.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084317)

The problem with leaving is that some people don't have that option. In my area, the cable company (not comcast) is a monopoly and you either have them or you don't have high speed internet.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

shredswithpiks (867616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084423)

Done. I left comcast about 8 months ago for their shenanigans. Wish others had the sense to do the same.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084487)

You don't like it leave. Its that simple. Maybe if Comcast customers started leaving in drones, Comcast would re-think their insane policy.

Do let us be realistic.

The cable companies have tens of millions of customers who would be out there cheering if the Geek's gigabyte traffic in ISOs were put on the back burner, the graveyard shift.

Just shy of the bullseye... (5, Insightful)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083913)

He compared it to making a phone call and getting a busy signal, then trying again and getting through
Hey, good phone analogy, but you're not quite right, Mr. Comcast Executive. Let me try to lend you a hand: it's like already being on a phone call and having it dropped in the middle of your conversation. Over and over and over. And it makes you so angry you vow you're going to cancel your service and switch to a competitor, except you can't, because they're the Phone Company, the only game in town.

At least, that's the way it works for a huge portion of Comcast's service area, including large swaths of Chicagoland.

Technically they are blocking (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083915)

If they terminate a connection from happening they are blocking it. It may be OK to them to call it 'delaying' but technically the connection is blocked initially.

Re:Technically they are blocking (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084545)

I don't do much bit torrenting to start with but bt is one sick puppy when i used it the other month. I had stalls, odd disconnects and had to look again at my known working bt settings again. I'm not a comcast subscriber but if we all had to change our webserver / jabber / email configs every week to keep 'clueless phone company' happy there would be some fuss. If they can do this to bt why not our webserver configs etc ? and soon .

Should have used tubes... (2, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083927)

Comparing with a phone service is correct, if they did this to a commercial customer and deliberately stopped a certain percentage of calls that had to then be re-dialled they would be accused of blocking calls.

He should have said "its like a set of tubes its just that P2P traffic is heavier so it sinks to the bottom, and as everyone knows with rivers they flow slower at the bottom so we aren't delaying them its just that P2P traffic is like a Pike, its a heavier fish that swims at the bottom while the normal internet stuff is like a salmon at the surface. Pike also eat cute little ducklings so P2P is evil"

Somebody's got a future in government... (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083951)

First they had no idea what would prompt accusations of traffic shaping or blocking torrent traffic. Then they "remembered" that policy after speaking with their PR people. In particular, they remembered that they don't "stop" traffic so much as "delay" traffic, although I'm not sure there's much of a difference there. Finally, that's totally justified since the people being affected are a minority of users who are monopolizing the bandwidth and preventing Gramma and the rest of the "average" internet users from checking their email.

Now, compare that to this:

[Government policy A] isn't a policy, we don't do that. Lemme think for a minute! No, yeah, okay, we don't do that, we do [Government Policy A sub 1]. But that's totally justified since we only do it to bad people, not any of you good folks.

You know, (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083981)

I actually hate to say this for a superstitious fear that it will come back to bite me in the ass... but I've had nothing but good experiences with Comcast. I'm lucky because they are the only game in my town besides DSL. Anyhow, I've never experienced an outage in the nearly two years I've had them, and they recently sent us a flier telling us about channel changes and that we would be not receiving a couple of channels that we currently get (due to the need to provide more bandwidth to hi-def channels or something). Get this, they updated our cable box and gave us $20 off for a year! Then next year the bill only goes up $1 over our current plan. All it took was a little phone wrangling and they were very understanding and helpful.

The only thing I don't get from them is phone service because Vonage is still cheaper. Hopefully it stays that way but I fear for Vonage's future.

In any case, I haven't noticed any real slowdown in my BT traffic but I'm not a really heavy user. I download about 8-10 hours worth of TV shows per week and the odd distro now and then. I also find that it helps to know which seeds to pick--yes that might be a no-brainer to us but not necessarily to the average Joe Schmoe who reads about this in the newspaper.

Re:You know, (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084043)

Get this, they updated our cable box and gave us $20 off for a year!

      The natives were happy when they got beads and trinkets, too.

Re:You know, (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084227)

Then call me a happy native. :)

Re:You know, (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084221)

"they recently sent us a flier telling us about channel changes and that we would be not receiving a couple of channels that we currently get"

"Then next year the bill only goes up $1 over our current plan."

Wow. Less channels for only $1 more per year. Where do I sign up?

nothing new for canadians (2, Interesting)

whydotheydothat (1178245) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083999)

Rogers does that in Canada on a regular basis. When I called them up, they admitted they block bit torrent. I asked them why don't they do this AFTER i use all my "unlimited" 60GB/month ($50)? No answer. Go figure.

A Low Tech Load Balancer? (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084027)

Sounds like a low tech form of load balancing... Dont these guys have the money to buy a good traffic shaping device? :-)

I do understand that many people might have bad experiences with the Comcast broadban, but I really like Comcast where I am. I have several VPN tunnels setup across multiple offices which is very nice and stable. Also, most of the time there speed is outstanding as long as my traffic shaping is good on the outbound side.

Problems also with OpenVPN related to this? (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084063)

I have an OpenVPN endpoint on my home system, so I can get access to my IMAP server wherever I am.

From my desk at work, it continues to work flawlessly.

From my mother's house it has worked flawlessly in the past, but on the last visit it didn't. It seemed to have MTU problems, in that I could do simple DNS lookups, and I could SSH into one of my home systems over the VPN. But the moment I go to move any quantity of data, it freezes up. I tried the suggested OpenVPN MTU fixes and they didn't work, though I don't know if they have to be applied at both ends. At the time, obviously I couldn't change the server endpoint settings.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if it's really this new filtering that's hitting me.

Re:Problems also with OpenVPN related to this? (1)

Apiakun (589521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084531)

Interesting. While working from home earlier this week, I needed to copy a big .tgz from my work computer to my home box. I was connected w/ CiscoVPN, and it seemed every time I tried moving a large file, it would lock up, and I'd be unable to reconnect for a few minutes. I had initially attributed the problem to the fact that it had just gotten done storming, and perhaps there were connectivity issues (Thanks, Comcast), but now, like you, I am wondering if it's part of this filtering.

it's against the TOS (1, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084103)

Comcast's TOS explicitly disallow running any form of public server or P2P services, so I really don't see why people are complaining about it. If you want to run P2P, subscribe to a plan or provider that permits it.

Or, if you think that people should be permitted to run any service they like, then stand up for government regulations that force all providers to let them do this.

But I'm tired of this pseudo-libertarian bullshit where people complain about evil big business writing restrictive contracts on the one hand, and whine about big bad government on the other.

Re:it's against the TOS (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084413)

Whats your definition of a server? Pretty much everything sends data in both directions, even HTTP so is that a server when it connects to /. to download a page and it has to get the get request?

What about games, Comcast advertises how great gaming is on their network ... many people playing games have to run a server to play. Thier TOS is in direct conflict with their advertising. Unless you think the Comcast TOS doesn't allow for XBox live games, in which case they should be filtering them as well.

Although data is both sent and recieved from BitTorrent clients, and clients connect to each other, the trackers are really 'the servers' which allow the clients to exchange information.

Re:it's against the TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21084729)

I strongly recommend you read the description of what constitutes as a "server". I've touched base on that subject here:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19308963- [dslreports.com]

Better start injecting TCP RST during IM file transfers, Remote Desktop, and PPTP VPN encap. sessions! Better keep it equal, Comcast! Hell, better yet, why not just filter TCP off your network entirely? Comcast, now UDP-only! Faster than all the other competition, because we do away with stateful protocols!

And stop advocating changing ISPs (some do not have other options available (or the competition is equally horrible)). It's just a matter of time before others do it. Comcast just happens to be the first.

As a Comcast customer... (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084161)

Was trying to grab the Gobuntu alternate--and the sad thing that the straight download was going faster than the torrent, at least for a while (mirror servers are hit hard.)

Either way I've never had this much trouble with the service. Comcast is really putting the squeeze on.

Comcast...how shall I miss thee? (1)

Rub1cnt (1159069) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084255)

Okay...so I lied, I wont miss them at all. I wont miss the packet shaping, the adaptive analysis, the Bangalore tech support...having to call repeatedly to get competent tech service. (BTW, any issues with Comcrap's HS internet service, ask to be transferred to the canadian NOC....it works, they're intelligent.) (Amusing story there, but I'll save that for a journal entry) Remember: for all issues, blame reality, for anything royally f***ed up, blame comcast! :) kill -9 kdawson. :)

Bad analogy.. (2, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084283)

I disagree with comcasts analogy. Its not like getting a busy signal, its like an operator coming on the line mid conversation and tell both partys please try again later and disconnecting them. The busy signal occurs when you initiate the call and the receiving end is busy an unable to answer. What they are doing is at a certain threshold (that no one knows of course), getting into the middle of the connection, pretending to be each other, and disconnecting the connection.

A better analogy for comcast to use would be something along the lines of we are promoting identify theft by pretending to be the recipient and closing your connection so we can redirect the traffic and steal whatever you are downloading :) (okay the last paragraph is sorta absurd.. but still it amused me when I read that back to myself so it stays)

yuo 7ail 1t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21084319)

and Enjoy all the

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21084515)

Escape them by clearly become BitToorent) Second, platfor8 for the Addresses will more stable
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