Comcast Wants a P2P Bill of Rights: Should You Be Excited or Afraid?

Illustration for article titled Comcast Wants a P2P Bill of Rights: Should You Be Excited or Afraid?

Comcast officially loves P2P as much as George Washington loves freedom. It's calling for an industry-wide P2P bill of rights and responsibilities that would cover ISPs and users and "clarify what choices and controls consumers should well as what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications." Furthermore, as they stated earlier, Comcast is pushing for protocol agnostic management, more bandwidth and more transparency. Sounds groovy, but here's why we don't think they're doing this just to make your 30 Rock torrent experience a silky smooth ride.

As Ars points out, they don't plan on inviting consumer groups to this constitutional convention, viewing it as more of an "industry" deal. Which is what we told you guys earlier about ISPs suddenly seeing the light of P2P. It's an industry thing, not a you thing. Protocol agnostic management, for one, can simply mean slowing down all your traffic equally, be it p2p or streaming video.


Also, if they make a "bill of rights" on their own terms, it's a further case for the industry that the FCC doesn't need to step in with a government-mandated bill of rights or net neutrality rules—which no ISP wants, not even Verizon, who is the most vocal about not policing or throttling their pipes.

The upside, again, is smarter use of increasingly taxed pipes with more efficient protocols. But that's not necessarily about you. And if the rest of the industry doesn't jump aboard, this could all amount to jack. [Comcast, Ars, Multichannel]


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I believe that Britain once tried to create a "Bill of Rights" for the 13 Colonies. Summarized all of the laws read similar to the following:

You have the freedom to practice the state religion, or the Godly religions and sects we tolerate. You may be constrained and/or taxed for your choices. You have the freedom to practice speech, press, assemble at our will.

You have the right to bear arms in the service of the Mother Land.

You are free to quarter soldiers at her the Kingdom's indulgence.

You have the freedom to cooperate with unreasonable searches and seizures of property, information, etc...

Due process of law will occur under the Regents hand and home land.

You have the right to be taxed at our will, want, need and pleasure.

You are free to experience excessive bail, incarceration, and cruel and unusual punishments.

In short, beware all rights asserted by tyrants. They rarely expand freedoms, and generally serve to tax and constrain the general populous.