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Comcast Faces Suit Over Fraudulent Data Discrimination Policies

Comcast Faces Suit Over Fraudulent Data Discrimination Policies

Comcast interferes with P2P traffic on its cable network by masquerading as its customers and resetting connections.

November 21, 2007 —

Last month it was revealed that Comcast discriminates against person-to-person networks and their users by limiting the speed that data can travel across those networks. The story provoked an outcry from Internet advocates, not only because it represented the first time that an American ISP had officially adopted data discrimination as a policy, but because the company hid the practice from its customers, refusing to admit its existence even after an Associated Press investigation provided hard evidence in its initial story.

Comcast still refuses to provide details of the "network management" techniques it now admits to employing, but a recent class action lawsuit threatens to blow the lid off of the practice. Jon Hart, a San Francisco Comcast subscriber is suing the communications giant on a variety of charges, ranging from breach of contract to computer fraud.

Because the controversy centers around P2P networks, which enable users to exchange large quantities of data both legally and illegally, this story may seem to be about file sharing and copyright law. It's not. Everyone who streams or downloads video or music files on the Internet is threatened if Comcast's data discrimination policies become widespread among ISPs.

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