Home > Computers and Internet > Rogers Cable: Gaining Bandwidth for VoIP @ Expense of Internet Customer Privacy?

Rogers Cable: Gaining Bandwidth for VoIP @ Expense of Internet Customer Privacy?

09-Jan-06 07:35 pm EST Leave a comment Go to comments
A colleague made me aware for the first time today that Rogers Cable is implementing a kind of bandwidth throttling that may constitute a violation of individual privacy for its Internet subscribers: filtering users of the BitTorrent file sharing protocol.  According to a story on TorrentFreak, Digg.com & various forum sources, Rogers Cable is engaged in a blanket packet-filtering approach that first reviews the kind of packet being transmitted (thus violating end-user privacy) and then subjecting that traffic to reduced bandwidth.  The result is slower downloading times for BitTorrent users.
 
Interestingly, the reationale Rogers may be using for the throttling may have nothing to do with usage causing bandwidth shortages by its Internet users.  One forum source suggested the cause is actually shared bandwidth with Rogers’ new phone service, which is IP-based and runs over the smae infrastructure.  Ongoing covergance battles thus could be rndering a shortage of bandwidth where none would otherwise exist.  As such, current policies concerning user bandwidth caps are insufficient, and Rogers is looking for another way to free up bandwidth for its new phone service.
 
I’ve written a letter to Rogers outlining the privacy concern.  But this could also be in some way related to recent indications the Canadian government may require ISPs to report on customer downloading activity, which also requires similar invasions of privacy.  Fortuantely, a new torrent protocol supported by the BitComet appliaction supports encrypted packets which can’t be readily identified by the Rogers method and which allows the BitTorrent user to escape the throttling mechanism entirely.
 
More updates on this developing story to follow….
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Terry Glavin

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