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Thread: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less Safe

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    User VEL0CiTY's Avatar
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    ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less Safe

    One of the most frequent refrains from the big broadband players and their friends who are fighting against net neutrality rules is that there's no evidence that ISPs have been abusing a lack of net neutrality rules in the past, so why would they start now? That does ignore multiple instances of violations in the past, but in combing through the comments submitted to the FCC concerning net neutrality, we came across one very interesting one that actually makes some rather stunning revelations about the ways in which ISPs are currently violating net neutrality/open internet principles in a way designed to block encryption and thus make everyone a lot less secure. The filing comes from VPN company Golden Frog and discusses "two recent examples that show that users are not receiving the open, neutral, and uninterrupted service to which the Commission says they are entitled."

    The first example you may have actually heard about. It got some attention back in July, when entrepreneur Colin Nederkoorn released a video showing how Verizon was throttling his Netflix connection, which was made obvious when he logged into a VPN and suddenly his Netflix wasn't stuttering and the throughput was much higher. That video got a lot of attention (over half a million views) and highlighted the nature of the interconnection fight in which Verizon is purposely allowing Netflix streams coming via Level 3 to clog. As most people recognize, in a normal scenario, using a VPN should actually slow down your connection somewhat thanks to the additional encryption. However, the fact that it massively sped up the Netflix connection shows just how much is being throttled when Verizon knows it's Netflix traffic. Nederkoorn actually was using Golden Frog's VyprVPN in that video, so it actually makes Golden Frog look good -- but the company notes that it really shows one way in which "internet access providers are 'mismanaging' their networks to their own users' detriment."

    But the second example Golden Frog provides is much scarier and much more pernicious, and it has received almost no attention.

    In the second instance, Golden Frog shows that a wireless broadband Internet access provider is interfering with its users’ ability to encrypt their SMTP email traffic. This broadband provider is overwriting the content of users’ communications and actively blocking STARTTLS encryption. This is a man-in-the-middle attack that prevents customers from using the applications of their choosing and directly prevents users from protecting their privacy.
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...e-online.shtml

    How much longer until the efforts to outlaw encryption resurface?
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    Re: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less

    Quote Originally Posted by VEL0CiTY View Post
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...e-online.shtml

    How much longer until the efforts to outlaw encryption resurface?
    A couple interesting developments on my end. Using a VPN does in fact speed up my connection speed dramatically. On speedtest.net my download speed increases from about 18mps without vpn to as high as 75mps with vpn turned on. Hulu has responded to the use of vpns by blocking well known vpn isps.

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    Re: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    A couple interesting developments on my end. Using a VPN does in fact speed up my connection speed dramatically. On speedtest.net my download speed increases from about 18mps without vpn to as high as 75mps with vpn turned on. Hulu has responded to the use of vpns by blocking well known vpn isps.
    Could it be that you have some things running on your system, using up resources, and when you use VPN the firewall is blocking them making your output connection faster? VPNs aren't inherintly faster.

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    Re: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNextEra View Post
    Could it be that you have some things running on your system, using up resources, and when you use VPN the firewall is blocking them making your output connection faster? VPNs aren't inherintly faster.
    Sure, why not?

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    Re: ISPs Already Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption And Make Everyone Less

    We need to either establish and enforce net neutrality, or we need to enforce the anti-monopoly laws against ISPs. There are way too many areas that can only get internet access from WindStream or Comcast, both of whom have abysmal (and in some cases criminal) service practices. They can get away with this because there is no competition, which is the very kind of situation that anti-monopoly laws are intended to prevent.

    Net neutrality is going to hurt the ISPs because they've already invested billions into their fiber optic infrastructure. I could get on board with a policy that gives them some sort of compensation if net neutrality is established. On the other hand, it's the shady and dishonest practices by these ISPs that have called this matter into focus. So in that regard, it's their own damn fault and it's hard to feel sympathy for them.

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