Bell Canada, the national Canadian telcom, has been caught filtering P2P connections initiated by customers of its reseller ISPs -- that means that if you start a funky little ISP in Toronto and buy a giant fat industrial pipe from Bell to serve it, Bell will secretly throw away your customers' packets
The apologists for ISP filtering often say that it's unreasonable to hold ISPs to delivering unlimited service on the unlimited lines they sell, and if we want real unlimited service, then we should go out and buy commercial-grade connections. Well, that's exactly what these lines are: enormous pipes sold to ferchrissakes ISPs for subsequent public use.
Bell Canada's position is that the Canadian Internet belongs to it, and that it has the right and duty to simply toss out packets based on which protocol they're running on, in order to maximize profits. This is the opposite of how the Internet works, and it's a disaster. No one had to get permission from all the worlds' phone companies in order to invent the Web, or Skype, or BitTorrent. But Bell Canada's logic is that they should have the ability to reach into the stream of packets and secretly and discriminatorily chuck out packets that it has some prejudice against.
This could be the beginning of the end of the Internet. If the world's telcos are in charge of what you're allowed to do on the Internet, the innovation stops here. From here on in, every new feature you want to add to the Internet depends on your capacity to send guys in suits to meetings with all the world's telcos and convince them that your idea won't hurt them. These are the companies that charge extra for caller ID -- according to that logic, you should have to pay extra to see the "From:" line on your inbound emails, too.
Details of Bell Canada's implementation remain scarce or contradictory, but the timing of the news is interesting, coming as it does just days after the CBC announced its own plans to use BitTorrent to distribute Canada's Next Great Prime Minister. Given P2P's obvious (and growing) legal uses, transparency is going to be an important part of any throttling scheme. If a network operator makes clear that BitTorrent speed is reduced after 30GB a month, for instance, that's one thing; if the throttling remains mysterious and arbitrary, that's another.
Steven Boyett writes, “Humble Bundle has released a unicorn-themed Bundle, with proceeds to benefit the World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna & Flora International. For as little as $1.00, you can get Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett (full disclosure: that’s me); Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop; Homeward Bound, by Bruce Coville; and Unicorn Triangle, […]
Brewster Kahle, who invented the first two search engines and went on to found and run the Internet Archive has published an open letter describing the problems that the W3C’s move to standardize DRM for the web without protecting otherwise legal acts, like archiving, will hurt the open web.
Timothy from Creative Commons writes, “The purpose of copyright is to empower — not frustrate! — creativity and knowledge production. Nowhere is a balanced copyright more important than in education. But 15-year-old EU copyright laws don’t take into account modern digital and online teaching methods, tools, and resources.”
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]