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Comcast Engages in Data Discrimination

Comcast Engages in Data Discrimination

"We don't believe that any Internet provider should be able to discriminate, block or impair their consumers ability to send or receive legal content over the Internet..."
---Free Press spokeswoman Jen Howard

October 19, 2007 —

According to the Associated Press, Comcast interferes with the ability of its users to upload files through file-sharing services like BitTorrent. The company would not confirm or deny the policy, but nationwide tests performed by the AP confirmed what it called "the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. service provider."

Data discrimination has been a controversial issue for ISPs, with AT&T agreeing last year to temporarily suspend its plans to charge higher bandwidth sites like google.video for "preferential treatment" of their traffic. The plan sparked fears of a pay-per-click internet and birthed the Net Neutrality movement. Activists and industry lobbyists have continued to spar of the issue, and thus far, the activists seem to be prevailing. But Comcast's secret discrimination policy sets a troubling precedent for ISPs, and may signify the beginning of the end for Net Neutrality.

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