Christopher Soghoian, a graduate student in the school of Informatics at Indiana University, delves into the areas of security, privacy and e-crime, has done extensive researh into Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent and other high bandwidth traffic- and alleged impersonation practices to cripple this content.
In an extensive post that just went up on our sister site News.com, Christopher not only believes that Comcast is guilty of these practices, but may in fact be violating the law.
As a result, he concludes that "lawyers are circling in the water" around Comcast, and that suits may be inevitable.
As I mentioned in an article last month, Comcast's tactics may very well be violating the law. Many states make it illegal for an individual to impersonate another individual. New York, a state notorious for its aggressive pro-consumer office of the Attorney General, makes it a crime for someone to "(impersonate) another and (do) an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another." (See: NY Sec. 190.25: Criminal impersonation in the second degree). I do not believe that it would be too difficult to prove that Comcast obtains a benefit by impersonating others to eliminate or reduce BitTorrent traffic. Less torrent data flowing over its network will lead to an overall reduction in its bandwidth bill, and thus a huge cost savings.
With regard to Comcast's legal liability, (Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred) von Lohmann said that he could not comment as he had not yet had a chance to review the New York anti criminal impersonation laws. He did, however, state that "(The EFF has) already been contacted by attorneys who are considering legal action against Comcast." In the meantime, the EFF will "continue to perform tests in hopes of better understanding how this works and how it might effect Comcast subscribers and other Internet users."
While the EFF is holding back for now, it seems clear that other lawyers are circling in the water. They can smell blood. Not only is Comcast actively impersonating its customers on the Internet, but it has continued to deny it for the past two months. Should the court's approve a class action lawsuit, Comcast could be looking at a world of pain--and rightly so.
If you were a prosecutor, would you investigate filing a lawsuit against Comcast for these practices?