Comcast BitTorrent Efforts Violating State Laws?
Forged RST packets likened to pretexting and impersonation...
by Karl Bode 06:30PM Tuesday Sep 04 2007 Tipped by nasadude
When we started talking about
Comcast's efforts to limit BitTorrent seeding by forging TCP Reset (RST) packets, some users were angry that Comcast was "violating the legitimacy"
of the TCP protocol. Others wondered if the activity constituted pretexting
, as the forged RST packet Comcast's gear is sending pretends to be from the host at the end of the BitTorrent connection. CNET
) wonders if this activity potentially violates several State laws (specifically New York, Connecticut and Alabama):
"Many states make it illegal to impersonate others. 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 their network will lead to an overall reduction in their bandwidth bill, and thus a huge cost savings."
While a good lawyer could argue that firetrucks are sentient and are planning a world takeover, the chance of Comcast facing any legal trouble for their traffic shaping is marginal at best, given Comcast's goal is to protect the integrity of their network, not defraud customers.