Canadian ISP Rogers: We're a dumb pipe, except when we want to stop BitTorrent

Rogers, Canada's terrible, filter-happy cablemodem ISP, has just given testimony to its regulator saying that its lines are "dumb pipes" and it can't control what's on them (they're trying to avoid having to meet Canadian content rules that would require them to encourage Canadians to consume "Canadian" bits on the Internet, an admittedly redonkulous idea). But when they go to the regulator to ask for the right to clobber customers' downloads, they say they're a "smart pipe" who lovingly inspect every single packet for copyright naughtiness.

Net neutrality is frequently re-characterized as "network management," with ISPs arguing that they should be able to manage their networks in a manner that distinguishes between certain applications (and potentially content). Funny, though, what happens when groups ask that the same network management tools be used for alternate purposes such as Canadian content rules. When that happens, Rogers, the same ISP that acknowledges traffic shaping, now says "We're a dumb pipe. We don't know what you're downloading . . . so how can we be responsible for the content?" In other words, when Rogers appears before the CRTC during the new media proceeding it runs a "dumb pipe." When it returns several months later for the network management proceeding, it runs a smart pipe engaged in deep packet inspection to identify the traffic on its network.

Rogers – "We're A Dumb Pipe"