Friday, August 1, 2008

FCC Gets One Right

Amazingly enough, the FCC actually made a common sense-based decision, and voted to censure Comcast Corporation for their attempts at copying China's model of internet censorship.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, just do a news search for Comcast. Comcast has been blocking their customers' access to sites and applications, such as Bit Torrent. Bit Torrent is a file protocol that allows users to share large files over the internet. Comcast claimed that they were trying to protect other customers from "bandwidth hogs." I guess Comcast thinks that their customers are stupid; torrent file exchange software runs in the background, is slower than other internet file exchange protocols, and doesn't use up much bandwidth at all. Comcast was trying to play net nanny, and stop users from sharing audio and video material that might be copyrighted. Oh yeah; they also tried to hide their actions from their customers.

In a remarkable decision, the FCC chose to say, "Sit down Waldo; don't try to do our job for us." Kudos to the FCC for getting one right. Don't start the back slapping yet though; Comcast will probably try another method of protecting their customers from themselves before the dust settles.

Read the Washington Times article here.

UPDATE: I received an email saying the equivelent of, "But Lewis, why do you favor the government interfering in business affairs?" To that person, and others, I say that I am NOT a big fan of the government interfering in business. However, if you read the article, you'll see that the FCC "censured (reprimanded)" Comcast. They also are the reason that Comcast's customers even know what Comcast was up to. In this particular instance, I think that the FCC actually did something worthwhile, vice their usual nanny approach. While I think they're a bloated, useless group, it is indeed refreshing to get our money's worth out of them once in a while.

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