Looks like Comcast hasn't figured out that "stop digging" is a good rule of thumb when you find yourself in a hole:
Last week, the folks at cable giant Comcast asked for more time to give a nuanced response to a report that the company was blocking some peer-to-peer traffic on its network. The public relations staff at the Philadelphia company seemed genuinely baffled by accusations that it was interfering with file-sharing applications like BitTorrent and Gnutella. They stubbornly insisted that they did not monitor or block any Internet traffic despite strong evidence to the contrary.
Speaking on background in a phone interview earlier today, a Comcast Internet executive admitted that reality was a little more complex. The company uses data management technologies to conserve bandwidth and allow customers to experience the Internet without delays. As part of that management process, he said, the company occasionally but not always delays some peer-to-peer file transfers that eat into Internet speeds for other users on the network.
This is the kind of thing that might not even look bad if Comcast were being open about it. Instead, it's been discovered by people digging. It's not as if BitTorrent is exclusively pirate-ware, either - Linux distros use it to ship files, as do others who have lots of content to push.
Heck, it ends up looking even dumber than that - Gizmodo is reporting that Comcast is also blocking Lotus Notes:
The EFF found that not just Gnutella -- another file sharing app -- was being blocked, but Lotus Notes, an app businesses use to share calendars, emails and files over the net had its traffic interfered with as well.
Yeah, all those pirate Notes users are a problem. Sounds like they've got a brain dead monitor that looks for two way synch traffic, period. I wonder if they'll end up accidentally killing Feed readers and iTunes next. What Comcast needs here is a little transparency. I understand the idea of limiting bandwidth hogs - what irritates me is having no idea what counts as "bandwidth hogging". I download new builds of our product from the engineering group about once a week. If I changed that to daily, would I end up falling into the "evil" bucket?
Update: I agree with Mike Masnick of TechDirt:
Besides, what's wrong with simply telling people what the limitations are and then going after the violators for terms of service breaches? In being so secretive and misleading about it, all it's doing is causing many more people to get upset with Comcast and think that they're being targeted (even if they're not). It's a ridiculous PR situation for Comcast to be in -- and it could be solved easily enough if Comcast stopped beating around the bush, stopped giving gobbledy-gook doublespeak responses that don't actually answer the questions people are asking and simply told people what they're doing and why.
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