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Israeli ISPs falsely accused of blocking BitTorrent

By 14 December 2009 5 Comments

In one of the more saddening displays of bad journalism, Ynetnews is reporting that “Israeli internet service providers block P2P traffic”.  The only problem is that the so-called “report” that they cited doesn’t actually find or conclude that any blocking is going on.  The usual suspects like Slashdot is amplifying the misleading headline while the “Net Neutrality Squad” is already regurgitating the story that “Report claims Israeli ISPs tampering with P2P (and lying about it)”.

But how can the ISPs be lying about blocking P2P if the only source these stories cite doesn’t actually claim that blocking is going on?  The only thing so-called report from the “Intellect or Insanity” blog is claiming that they’re finding some slight variation in BitTorrent speeds due to DPI-enabled traffic shaping and they’re outraged that some of the ISPs might be caching BitTorrent.  Oh the horror of an ISP trying to accelerate BitTorrent performance!

The reality is that there’s not much substance in the so-called report and it makes the classic mistake of assuming that everything must be using (Deep Packet Inspection) DPI and that DPI is illegal.  DPI is more about content inspection than traffic type classification.  Furthermore, if DPI technology was illegal, then so would intrusion detection systems, anti-virus filtering, and anti-spam systems that protect the Internet.  Here’s a report where I give a basic primer on DPI to demystify the technology.

5 Comments »

  • Jonathan said:

    I suggest you re-read the report. We found both evidence of listening to bittorrent traffic and intercepting it (which, at least in Israel, is illegal) and throttling of ports or protocols, which are considered DPI (when it’s protocols).

    The DPI found in caching is different from the one found in differing, where it limited any traffic based on protocols.

  • George Ou (author) said:

    Jonathan,

    What you found was inconclusive and weak. You found no examples of blocking, yet the stories are claiming that blocking is going on. Protocol identification hardly justifies being called DPI, and DPI is not illegal or necessarily a bad thing.

    Are anti-spam, anti-virus, and Intrusion Detection Systems also illegal in your country? We have people in this country that claim these things are illegal too arguing that it breaks wire tap rules and that you need two-sided consent. But would a spammer and malware pusher ever give you permission to inspect their traffic?

  • Restitutional Justice in Copyright, or why should Copyright Holders seek justice from the ISPs. said:

    [...] we conducted with Ynet News in regards to p2p throttling and DPI in Israel, which was (even after reading the criticism) most likely the most comprehensive in Israel, even though it needed more research. One of the [...]

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