So, I thought this line in Anne Broache's report from Cambridge was odd:
"Such intercession into a user's access to the Internet should not result in...the transformation of BitTorrent into BitTrickle," said Markey, drawing a smattering of applause from one corner of the high-ceiling auditorium. "That's a problematic result...whether it is purposeful or purely circumstantial."
Why just a smattering of applause? Wouldn't the netizens, the EFF crowd, the fighters for privacy and P2P be out in force at the FCC hearings on Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent? In Cambridge? Damn sure they would.
So how does a guaranteed applaus line like "BitTrickle" from every net activist's favorite rep get a smattering? Turns out, here's why:
Portfolio.com reports that Comcast has admitted that it paid people to line up early and hold seats at the hearing.
Comcast spokewoman Jennifer Khoury said the company paid some people to arrive early and hold places in the queue for local Comcast employees who wanted to attend the hearing.And some paid-off warm bodies, too.
Some of those placeholders, however, did more than wait in line: they filled many of the seats at the meeting, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, scores of Comcast critics and other members of the public were denied entry because the room filled up well before the beginning of the hearing.
Khoury said the company didn't intend to block anyone from attending the hearing. "Comcast informed our local employees about the hearing and invited them to attend," she said. "Some employees did attend, along with many members of the general public."
Save the Internet puts the issue in relief:
Here’s why this is a problem. Comcast clearly paid disinterested people to fill seats. This barred interested citizens from entering. More than 100 people who arrived at the appointed time for the hearing were turned away by campus police because the room was already full.