ISPs have been throttling BitTorrent traffic for years now, but only recently has this turned into a political issue. The BitTorrent client Azureus has now developed a plugin through which you can help distinguishing the good from the bad ISPs, data they will use to strengthen their argument in the ongoing Comcast debate.
Last November Azureus petitioned the FCC, resulting in a FCC hearing which was held a month ago. One of the issues raised there, was that there is little data available on the scope of BitTorrent throttling, a gap Azureus now plans to fill.
“We at Vuze (Azureus) decided there was something important you can do to help elevate the debate,” says Jay Monahan, General Counsel at Azureus. “We created a simple software “plug-in” that works with your Vuze (Azureus) application to gather information about potential interference with your Internet traffic.”
The main purpose of the plugin is to gather factual data on which ISPs are throttling with BitTorrent, and to what extent. Already there is an ever growing list of bad ISPs available at the Azureus wiki, but the data from the plugin will make their case even stronger.
When the first ISPs started to throttle BitTorrent traffic, Azureus was one of the first BitTorrent clients to introduce a countermeasure, namely, protocol header encryption. However, this was only the beginning of an ongoing cat and mouse game between ISPs and BitTorrent client developers.
Unfortunately, BitTorrent encryption doesn’t work against the more aggressive, and ever evolving throttling applications. Even though there is a Comcast proof BitTorrent encryption in the making, it is always easier to use political means to stop ISPs from messing with our traffic in the first place. The plugin is listed at Azureus’ Sourceforge page if you want to help out.
For the paranoid BitTorrent users among us, Monahan guarantees that the data will be sent anonymously. “Be assured that sharing this data with us does not involve disclosure of any of your personally identifiable information. We will aggregate the data and may talk about it or disclose it publicly, but no data about any specific user will be disclosed as part of this effort.”