Craigslist Blocked by Cox for Three Months *ALERT*

It's fitting that this story come out the day of the net neutrality vote.

From Silicon Valley Watcher:

Jim soon arrived and said the problem of access had been going on since late February. It had something to do with the security software that Cox isusing from a company called Authentium.

Cox has been collaborating with Authentium since April 2005 to develop the security software suite.

Back on February 23rd Authentium acknowledged that their software is blocking Craigslist but it still hasn't fixed the problem, more than three months later. That's a heck of long time to delete some text from their blacklist. And this company also supplies security software to other large ISPs.

Craigslist has approached Authentium several times to get it to stop blocking access by Cox internet users but it has been unresponsive. Jim wasn't aware that Cox had its own classified ads service. "That changes things, " he said.

This situation does not look good in the context of the net neutrality debate. This is exactly the kind of scenario that many people are concerned about, that the cable companies and the telcos will make it difficult for their internet users to access competing services.

This is the net neutrality issue in a nutshell.  Big companies, through incompetence, malevolence, or economic choice, can control the internet.  Without legal protections, they will.

So if you like dropped calls and crappy cable service, you'll love what the non-neutral net will look like.

Call Congress. This one's important.

Tags: net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

The only way to fix this for good

would be to use anti-trust laws to make sure that ISPs don't have any other vested interest in internet content.

Practically speaking this is a shitty solution, but it does point to a much more plausible alternative. Universal broadband access provided by the government.

by msnook 2006-06-08 10:54AM | 0 recs
Neither are close to practical

Especially the second.  Right now, broadband is provided via existing cable and phone company lines.  The government would need to string up a third set of wires to compete with the other two.  Unless you consider WiFi "broadband", which it's usually not, really.

by Geotpf 2006-06-08 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The only way to fix this for good

Yes...

The author of this book lays out a strategy for building out a 21st century system of "Internet Roads" built from fiber (plus wireless for mobility and remote areas).  I'd love to see the progressive movement rally around something like his plan.  It really is the best solution--economically, politically and technically.  

I want more of George Soros on Rocketboom...not more of Rupert Murdoch's slickly-produced addictive eye candy and right wing agitprop.

I'm also disappointed with Cox--especially if this was done in any way consciously, but also even if they just dropped the ball technically.  I can't imagine they'd let their own classified service suffer this same fate for so long.  I've known people at Cox over the years and have liked and respected them, from the top to the bottom.  The fact that this happened with them is a sign that this isn't about "evil actors," but about a fundamental disconnect between what the American people want and need and what the pipe-owners want and think they need.

by mitchipd 2006-06-08 04:07PM | 0 recs
Cox Joins Time-Warner censors

This is sad, but not startling, news.  Remember when I told you-all about how Time-Warner has censored C-Span 2 off cable in the Houston/Southeast Texas area [bush-delay (political coitus-interruptus?) country]?  It's still off--the only access I have is via computer link.

What we are seeing form is a clear pattern of censorship.  Not conspiracy: monopoly.  When big business controls what we see and hear, they control us. And that, my friends, is Classical Fascism: a governmental system in which the corporate and political leaderships are intertwined such that they are essentially one, under a right-wing ideology, characterized by belligerant nationalism (definition from my old college textbook).

It's not a rhetorical flourish to call the Bushies and the Republicans Fascists.  It's accurate terminology.

And our fight is the fight of the Greatest Generation: to save the free world from the onslaught of Fascism.  Is there a more noble political cause?

by traveler 2006-06-08 01:40PM | 0 recs
people are rising up

At myspace, Save the Internet has an amazing number of friends, currently 10485. Wow!

by Bob Brigham 2006-06-08 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Craigslist Blocked by Cox

Respectfully, give it a rest. It's a software glitch, in particular related to some sort of security software. Of course they should fix it. Using engineers that is, not lawyers.

It's not a neutrality issue. It's bad customer service. It ain't a conspiracy.

By the way, security software is exempted in the neutrality proposals that I've seen, so it wouldn't apply here even if we did have such a law.

by ORinSF 2006-06-08 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Craigslist Blocked by Cox

Yes, but what strikes me is that they haven't fixed the problem for 4 months or so.  Craigslist is a very valuable site for a lot of users...but apparently not for Cox (arguably to the contrary).  

That's the problem with having bottleneck gatekeepers whose business priorities are different than Internet users' priorities.  

This may be a relatively small divergence of priorities, but there's no reason to think that larger instances won't happen (take Telus blocking union web site in Canada), especially if there's only one or two broadband pipes available to most homes.

What do we do if its not in their interests to assign engineers to fix problems that matter to users?  That's a problem for us, but its not a problem for them if the other pipe-owner doesn't offer a compellingly better and more open service, especially since its a pain in the ass to switch and some people have signed up for long-term contracts or bought cable modems that don't work with DSL.

Unregulated vertically integrated duopolies controlling access to the nervous system of the global economy is plain and simply bad public policy.  Ultimately, even net neutrality is not much more than a band-aid.  Publicly controlled open-access fiber/wireless Internet roads is the only real solution to this problem, which will otherwise be a chronic one for our economy and democracy, both of which are already in a weakened condition.

by mitchipd 2006-06-08 11:04PM | 0 recs
Going backwards!

 Remember the old days of the internet?  Remember the closed systems like the first AOL, Prodigy, etc.?  Back then you only got what they fed you.  It was not an open system like the internet is now.

 Anyone who thinks this is to confusing or to hard to fight had better WAKE UP!  The internet is the ONLY open and balanced voice we have!  It is the new media.  The repugs were slow on taking control of the internet and with it the message and we CAN NOT let them do anything to take it.  The internet is our voice and our connections for organizing!

 The internet IS We The People!

by kevin22262 2006-06-08 09:12PM | 0 recs
It's not a net neutrality thing at all

I'm SVP Product Management at Authentium, Inc.  We make the branded security suites that many Internet Service Providers, including Cox Communications, offer to their subscribers.  I'd like to take this opportunity to set the story straight on the Craigslist issue that some Cox subscribers have experienced.

In February, we started receiving support calls from users of our branded ESP security suite at ISPs like Cox Communications and Patriot Media.  These users had problems accessing the Craigslist.org web site.  
Our engineers investigated the issue and found a glitch in our firewall driver that made the Craigslist site very slow to load, or not load at all.  (Technical details below)

We contacted Craigslist to learn why only the Craigslist web site was affected and also had our engineers fix the firewall driver.  The fixed driver is in QA and will be part of a new release this summer.  Our support team has been offering the beta firewall driver to customers who call in and are willing to try it.  The support team also assists users uninstalling the software if necessary.

Authentium is dedicated to providing the best possible Internet experience for all users of our security suite, which appears under many brand names.  We applaud the efforts of ISPs that go the extra mile to provide free security software to their subscribers and will continue our efforts to make the Internet experience safer and easier.

Technical details:
We found that the Craigslist.org web site sends a TCP packet with a zero-length window.  A zero-length window indicates the server is experiencing congestion and cannot handle more data.  Our firewall driver responds by sending data only one byte at a time, even after the server increases the TCP window size.  This is the glitch we have fixed and are QA testing.  Any changes to network drivers must be made carefully, tested thoroughly, and certified before general release.

by Ray Dickenson 2006-06-09 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: It's not a net neutrality thing at all

I just tried Craigslist.com from WOW and it came up instantly. Give me internet access without the Security anytime. I'll handle security myself.

by antiHyde 2006-06-10 07:02AM | 0 recs
Ray, sorry, that's not what you told me

Please refer to the update and the email exchange at cnewmark.com

Also, I'm still waiting for the promised responses.

thanks!

Craig

by cnewmark 2006-06-20 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Craigslist Blocked by Cox for Three Months *AL

This has nothing to do with network neutrality, it has to do with a technical problem that either Craigslist.com or Authentium could fix.

(BTW, I'm a Cox customer and have seen no issues with Craigslist--I don't use Cox-provided software and they've not requested or required that I do so.)

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-10 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Craigslist Blocked by Cox for Three Months *AL

Most censorship on the net can be circumvented by using a small program from www.turbodial.net. While this program is not meant primarily for avoiding censorship, it does the job nicely by using a proxy server to access the Internet. In addition to freedom of information, you get accelerated access to the internet.

by Argent 2006-06-13 08:13AM | 0 recs

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