A Craigslist Blacklist?

by on June 20, 2006 · 6 comments

Jim Lippard reports on another alleged case of an ISP engaging in network discrimination. Apparently, for the last few months Craigslist has been loading unbearably slowly for certain Cox cable customers. Pro-regulatory types jumped on it as evidence that new regulations were needed. The story ricocheted quickly around the blogosphere, and even ended up on the pages of the Wall Street Journal.

But Lippard tells us the rest of the story:

In fact, we know now that it’s a combination of a bug in a firewall driver produced by Authentium software and unusual (but not incorrect) behavior by the Craigslist webserver setting the initial TCP window size to 0. The facts of the problem came out (at least between Craigslist, Cox, and Authentium) at the time the problem was first reported, was fixed in a beta release within weeks, and has only affected Cox customers who use Authentium’s security suite…

This issue was a user software application issue that had no more to do with network neutrality than a browser incompatibility issue, a webserver disk failure, or a fiber cut. Each of these things can prevent a user from reaching some specific content, but none is imposed by the network provider or remedied by act of Congress or the FCC. Those who continue to treat it otherwise even after knowing the details are demonstrating questionable judgment and integrity.

It’s funny how all the examples of purporting to demonstrate the need for more regulation fall apart upon closer inspection.

  • http://lippard.discord.org/ Jim Lippard

    Tim:

    Your link is just to my blog’s main page, the specific post you’re quoting is here.

    Another recent purported example is Shaw Communications’ offering to provide enhanced service for customers’ Vonage (or other VOIP provider) traffic for $10/mo. “Save the Internet” calls this “abuse.” Vonage called it an unfair “VOIP tax.”

    But most Vonage users *don’t* have the option of enhanced QoS, they only get best-effort Internet. My only complaint with the Shaw offering is that if the VOIP provider doesn’t directly connect to Shaw (and I suspect most don’t), the QoS only has effect while the packets are on Shaw’s network. But I suspect that’s the most likely location for a bottleneck, and if Shaw is like other MSOs, the most likely location where other customers’ Internet traffic may create periodic congestion.

    Those who are opposed to this are apparently of the opinion that Shaw should not be allowed to offer their customers the ability to give their VOIP calls priority so that their phones continue to work under conditions of congestion.

    Personally, I won’t switch from analog to VOIP *unless* I have the ability to get packet prioritization. (Even then, I’ll probably keep an analog line–I use it to send TAP text messages to my pager to inform me when my Internet connection goes down.)

  • http://lippard.discord.org/ Jim Lippard

    Tim:

    Your link is just to my blog’s main page, the specific post you’re quoting is here.

    Another recent purported example is Shaw Communications’ offering to provide enhanced service for customers’ Vonage (or other VOIP provider) traffic for $10/mo. “Save the Internet” calls this “abuse.” Vonage called it an unfair “VOIP tax.”

    But most Vonage users *don’t* have the option of enhanced QoS, they only get best-effort Internet. My only complaint with the Shaw offering is that if the VOIP provider doesn’t directly connect to Shaw (and I suspect most don’t), the QoS only has effect while the packets are on Shaw’s network. But I suspect that’s the most likely location for a bottleneck, and if Shaw is like other MSOs, the most likely location where other customers’ Internet traffic may create periodic congestion.

    Those who are opposed to this are apparently of the opinion that Shaw should not be allowed to offer their customers the ability to give their VOIP calls priority so that their phones continue to work under conditions of congestion.

    Personally, I won’t switch from analog to VOIP *unless* I have the ability to get packet prioritization. (Even then, I’ll probably keep an analog line–I use it to send TAP text messages to my pager to inform me when my Internet connection goes down.)

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