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Net watchdog goes pig-sticking on Comcast

BitTorrent lovers unite

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has amped up the crusade against P2P-throttling ISPs.

This morning, the plucky internet "watchdog" published a new report on the BitTorrent bagging exploits of American ISP Comcast, but it's also released a detailed account of the tests it ran on Comcast traffic, so net users across the world can help keep an eye on their own service providers.

This is all part of a project called "Test Your ISP".

"We see all the reports that we're writing and the software we're producing as part of a project to find out what ISPs are doing, what sort of interference they may be injecting into customer traffic," EFF staff technologist Peter Eckersley told us.

"We want to make sure that the internet community has the tools that it needs to know when this stuff starts happening with ISPs here in America or in other countries."

In scrutinising Comcast traffic, the watchdog developed a new testing tool known as pcapdiff, and an alpha release is now available from the EFF website.

"We realised that there were limitations to what we could do by hand using standard system administration tools," Eckersley explains. "Pcapdiff is designed to notice subtle changes in traffic. You can see any packets that have been modified or injected or simply haven't arrived."

The project mirrors a similar crusade from People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR). Comcast clearly has the net up-in-arms. One Californian has even sued the ISP over its BitTorrent bagging. ®

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