Comcast Not So Comcastic Anymore

Sunday, July 27th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with

Comcast

In a recent SMASHgods post we discussed the recent (trial) law in the UK where folks downloading files illegally are going to be sent nasty notes regarding their behavior with full support from many of the country’s major ISPs.

Every time we get these bits of news, it’s alarming to say the least, as it represents blatant censorship and behavior monitoring on a grand scale, conjuring scenes from Minority Report or Enemy of the State, where all of our electronic activity is monitored and tracked.

Today’s news hits a bit closer to home since it involves one of the bigger Internet providers in the U.S. – and has a huge reach (and market share) across the country. And in an ironic turn of events, the FCC is supporting our rights to free speech.

As it turns out, Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable company, was accused of violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet. In fact, the FCC has cast a majority vote in support of punishing Comcast for blocking customers’ Internet traffic.

This historic move originated from a complaint against the company regarding a certain file-sharing app (P2P) that allows individuals to exchange large amounts of data.

We have to ask ourselves: What is going down here folks? Are we slowly becoming a nation where such blatant withholding of freedoms and rights is becoming second nature?

If Comcast is attempting to narrow this down to an “excess bandwidth” issue, they are woefully neglecting the fact that they are forbidding Comcast users from running certain applications on their computers — applications that have proven their use in exchanging files with other users, and are praised for their speed and ease of use.

Ultimately the stakes here are high, and the FCC’s decision to take action is sort of a double-edged sword – with the government stepping in and monitoring our behavior in the way of privacy rights and Internet accessibility (good or bad).

The outcome of this decision could provide some insight into how ISPs monitor, limit and ultimately control our Internet use in the near term.

And that should get everyone’s attention.

[Via Yahoo News]

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