Test for Network Neutrality

Dan Kaminsky, DNS hacker and rootkit infection sleuth, has devised a test for checking to see if your Internet connection is "neutral" — that is, whether your connection is being filtered, throttled, slowed down, or monkeyed with secretly by your ISP:

Kaminsky calls his technique "TCP-based active probing for faults." He says that the software he's developing will be similar to the Traceroute Internet utility that is used to track what path Internet traffic takes as it hops between two machines on different ends of the network.

But unlike Traceroute, Kaminsky's software will be able to make traffic appear as if it is coming from a particular carrier or is being used for a certain type of application, like VoIP. It will also be able to identify where the traffic is being dropped and could ultimately be used to finger service providers that are treating some network traffic as second-class.

I've suggested that a keystone of any solution to the Net Neutrality problem will be keeping the ISPs honest — even if we pass a law prohibiting the auction of access to your connection to Internet companies, there's no guarantee that the Bells won't do it, and without a tool like this, it could be very hard to spot. If this works, maybe Google or Alexa (two companies that rely on a neutral net) will put it in their toolbars. It would be very good if there was some public place where data about different ISPs could be aggregated as a real-time Internet health report.


(Thanks, Damon!)

(Thanks to Eecue for the pic!)