San Francisco - Hours before the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) is expected to take action against Comcast
for violating the FCC's net neutrality principles, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is releasing
"Switzerland," a software tool for customers to test the
integrity of their Internet communications.
The FCC action, expected later today, is a response to
formal complaints regarding efforts by Comcast to interfere
with its subscribers' use of BitTorrent to share files over
the Internet. These interference efforts were first
documented and disclosed in October 2007 by EFF, the
Associated Press, and a concerned Internet user, Robb
Topolski. EFF subsequently urged the FCC to declare
Comcast's efforts inconsistent with the Commission's 2005
"Internet Policy Statement," which sets a benchmark for
neutral treatment of Internet traffic.
"The sad truth is that the FCC is ill-equipped to detect
ISPs interfering with your Internet connection," said Fred
von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney.
"It's up to concerned Internet users to investigate
possible network neutrality violations, and EFF's
Switzerland software is designed to help with that effort.
Comcast isn't the first, and certainly won't be the last,
ISP to meddle surreptitiously with its subscribers'
Internet communications for its own benefit."
"Until now, there hasn't been a reliable way to tell if
somebody -- a hacker, an ISP, corporate firewall, or the
Great Firewall of China -- is modifying your Internet
traffic en route," said Peter Eckersley, EFF Staff
Technologist and designer of Switzerland. "The few tests
available have been for narrow and specific kinds of
interference, or have required tremendous amounts of
advanced forensic labor. Switzerland is designed to make
general-purpose ISP testing faster and easier."
Part of EFF's "Test your ISP" project, Switzerland is an
open source, command-line software tool designed to detect
the modification or injection of packets of data by ISPs.
Switzerland detects changes made by software tools believed
to be in use by ISPs such as Sandvine and AudibleMagic,
advertising systems like FairEagle, and various censorship
systems. Although currently intended for use by technically
sophisticated Internet users, development plans aim to make
the tool increasingly easy to use.
For more information and to download the Switzerland
For more about EFF's "Test Your ISP" Project: