Media moghul Comcast plans to use protocol agnostic controls to manage online traffic. Comcast, a US cable provider, strives to appease global IPR parties by mediating broadband traffic via time-spaced analysis of internet usage. As a result, the normally strengthened pipeline for information transfer is deemed as severely handicapped via this inevitable middleman. It thus comes as no surprise that “Comcast’s objective here is still largely to prioritize NON-peer-to-peer traffic above P2P sharing." Commentator Shaun Nichols writes that Comcast plans to use these deliberate traffic limits in order to prevent users from occupying large chunks of bandwidth with the use of P2P services. Comcast claims that online traffic will be analyzed every 15 minutes in order to rank users based on the amount of bandwidth each is occupying. Individuals who appear to be occupying large amounts of bandwidth will be placed at a lower priority for network access, inhibiting access to peer-to-peer applications. This compromise will be met with increased speed for web page viewing during peak access times, leaving non-peer-to-peer users at a general advantage as far as web surfing is concerned. Not to our surprise, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found this to be an improvement over the ACTA’s (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) initial stringent regulatory stance on file sharing.
The structure of my argument hinders upon the past and future implications of file sharing legislation. Considering that the middle man (in this case the service provider) is of central importance to the movement of information across the web, it makes for a nice standstill between the normally warring EFF and ACTA. However, the ACTA’s ability to recruit more providers across the country could force users to look elsewhere for alternative means of accessing information. Though this article addresses the role of internet providers in information transfer, it largely ignores the general transfer of information via Bluetooth and other external devices that can also be used in file sharing.
Though not so recent, this article highlights the importance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and it’s preliminary role in defending privacy against lawmakers. The article reports that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a music-industry based group, attempted to block filtration devices that were used to transfer copyrighted material illegally. The EFF claimed that this move was an “ineffective measure that will do little to practically address the concerns of major rights holders while imposing serious costs on the individual rights of European citizens.” Recording industry groups further asked filtering technology makers, such as Audible Magic, to block users’ access to specific peer-to-peer file-sharing services.
This article targets yet another example of the entertainment industry (and the ACTA by extension) pretending to tailor the Internet to what it wants as opposed to operating with the way the Internet actually works. Developments like this also demonstrate that defenses, such as the EFF, actually do exist and strongly advocate the privacy of Internet users. This relates specifically to my thesis in that it shows the early steps toward the formation of a defense against global control of file sharing.