Google vs Cable
Google may have lost the debate on whether they are violating their “do no evil” motto, but they’re still a friend of the small guy in other areas.
Today they announced their Measurement Lab, an effort to make more data available for research on Internet performance issues.
Hidden in this set of announcements is Glasnost, an effort to estimate how much your ISP is interfering with your Bittorrent traffic. Of course, the US has no laws on the books to prevent your ISP from pretty much doing what they want with your traffic. The article on their initial results notably shows that the US is the least free country in the world in this regard – at least as far as data is available.
Furthermore, they demonstrate quantitatively that when Comcast testified before congress on the matter and claimed they needed to do this for performance reasons, the lack of variability between low-audience and high-audience periods demonstrates that (gasp!) the cable companies were flat out lying.
They had published much of these results in October at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference 2008, but the Google announcement gives their result much higher visibility.
Which, no doubt, is very much Google’s intent.
[UPDATE] The Reuters story made no mention of the fact that the researchers had disproved the notion that the Cable companies needed to do this. Imagine that.
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