Comcast Hijacks the Internet

For those who wonder what all the fuss about so-called net neutrality is about, witness what Comcast has done to subscribers of its "Internet" service.

Essentially, Comcast is secretly blocking certain Internet requests and Internet traffic in the same manner that hackers hijack computer systems with false messages. Comcast does not inform customers that it is blocking Internet traffic; indeed, it intentionally hides its hacking activity from users.

Comcast's behavior raises several issues: Is the company guilty of deceptive advertising by claiming it offers high-speed Internet access when in fact it only offers access to some parts of the Internet? Can it now be sued by users–including the possibility of a class action suit–for such practices? Is it trying to censor Internet traffic in the same way that government officials in China and Burma censor Internet access? Will the company begin censoring sites that differ from its corporate political views? (In fact, several analysts point out that there appears to be no specific law to prevent Comcast  from blocking or hiding, say, republican or democratic sites from its customers.)

Now that Comcast has been caught deceiving its customers and ducking questions about its behavior–questions that were raised as long ago as last August–it may represent a turning point in the battle over net neutrality. Until now, companies such as Verizon and AT&T claimed that there was no reason to enact laws protecting Internet access as it exists because no one was blocking access to customers or planning to do so.

But now the telecom oligopoly has in fact started to hijack the Internet, which may finally spur people and the politicians that represent them into action.

For more on net neutrality, see: Verizon and AT&T: Web 2.0 Killers

For more on Comcast's actions, see: Comcast Blocks Some Internet Traffic


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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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