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Israeli ISPs Caught Interfering With P2P Traffic 139

Posted by kdawson
from the red-hands-in-the-cookie-jar dept.
Fuzzzy writes "For a long time, people have suspected that Israeli ISPs are blocking or delaying P2P traffic. However, no hard evidence was provided, and the ISPs denied any interference. Today Ynetnews published a report on comprehensive research that for the first time proves those suspicions. Using Glasnost and Switzerland, an Internet attorney / blogger found evidence of deep packet inspection and deliberate delays. From the article: 'Since 2007 Ynet has received complaints according to which Israeli ISPs block P2P traffic. Those were brought to the media and were dismissed by the ISPs. Our findings were that there is direct and deliberate interference in P2P traffic by at least two out of the three major ISPs and that this interference exists by both P2P caching and P2P blocking.'"
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Israeli ISPs Caught Interfering With P2P Traffic

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  • The Real Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689)

    Does the Israeli Gov't care?

    • by Fuzzzy (967665)
      The Ministry of Communication regards such malpractices with an unfavorite eye:

      Communications Ministry spokesman Dr. Yechiel Shabi said in response, "The research materials relayed to us paint a picture which arouses the need for thorough examination. After we become familiar with the study's findings, we shall consider the need for interference, supervision or regulation of the matter."

      The MoC declared their commitment for the principle of Network Neutrality after a previous case of VoIP blocking by one of the cellular operator in Israel. However, beyond declarations actions are yet to be seen.

      • by GaryOlson (737642)
        I find your gullibility quotient to be a little high.

        The Ministry of Communication regards such malpractices with an unfavorite eye:

        The Ministry of Communication speaks out of both sides of its yamaka.

        Dr. Yechiel Shabi said in response, "The research materials relayed to us paint a picture which arouses the need for thorough examination.

        I was told our p2p throttling mechanisms were untracable!

        After we become familiar with the study's findings, we shall consider the need for interference, supervision,...

        The Signals Intelligence geeks are not going to get any sleep for the next couple of weeks. Then someone is getting transferred to the Israeli Embassy in Siberia.

    • Bigger questions:

      * Why would the Israeli government be less likely than ISPs to regulate P2P traffic, especially when governments are susceptible to lobby groups? "Net neutrality" is a sham.

      * Why isn't an ISP allowed to regulate its own traffic? If there's a lot of P2P traffic interfering with the rest of its network, it's allowed to regulate it. College networks do it all the time.

      * Why is this under "Your Rights Online?" You don't have a right to internet traffic. It's a commercial service you pay f

    • If they think they are entitled to kill people because of the unprovable fantasy being they worship - do you think they give one crap about their spooks snooping on everybody else?

    • Who is going to police the Israeli gov....the US?...doubt it.

  • Throttling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:40AM (#30428016) Homepage Journal

    FWIW I heard from a wireless provider's salesperson that all of the major Internet Service Providers in Japan have a policy that after 300GB traffic per month connection speed will be throttled down.

    I calculate this means that a 1Mbps video connection 24x7 would barely fit under this threshold.
    1 mbit/sec *3600 = 3600 mbit/hr
    3600 / 8 = 400 MBytes/hr
    400 * 24 * 30 = 288000 MB/mo. = 288 GB/mo.

    I wouldn't mind paying more if the companies would just stop adding all kinds of crazy rules.
    The worst is the huge amount paid for access speeds which while respectable themselves, are being sold at many times the effective rate. ISPs should be required to sell unfettered access at the same rate they pay for it, plus a fixed rate (say 5-10%) to ensure market growth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSunborn (68004)

      ISPs should be required to sell unfettered access at the same rate they pay for it

      That would be interesting, but quite impossible, because the price depend on the destination and what kind of transit/peering/paid peering the isp have. And you don't want to sell the service with 10 different prices/GB depending on which route your isp use to get data from A to B.

      btw: 300GB/Month is a lot of transfer for a private user. I have a 5/1 mbit connection, and I don't think I have ever used even 1/10 of that for a single month. Maybe I just don't watch enough video online.

    • by besalope (1186101)
      Really? A year or so ago it was public knowledge that the only limits on Japanese internet service was their 30GB per day upload cap.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ZirconCode (1477363)

        I can disprove the 30GB upload cap;

        When Ubuntu 8.04 was released I was one of the first to download it and I helped seed. The speeds never dropped and I uploaded around 120GB.

        Japan = Fiber Optics = No Limits = Jealous Readers

        • by mattr (78516)

          My own data is from what the iPhone salesman told me. He said all providers in Japan silently start throttling down at 300GB/month not per day. I have not heard this anywhere else yet myself.

    • by VoltageX (845249)

      150gb and lower limit here in Australia for 10mbit+ connections.
      I pay $70AUD/month for this...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      It is way past time for the public to get outraged and act up in regard to the entire utilities industry. Whether it is power, phone or cable it is high time to vastly reduce both the charges from the providers as well as taxes placed upon the end users.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:18AM (#30429318)

      You can't have everything. Internet connections are cheap because they are shared. People don't have dedicated bandwidth, they share it with everyone else. Works out, because normally you don't use all your bandwidth all the time. As such you can oversubscribe the links. You see this in offices all the time. I have a gig to my desk, however the switch in your area only has a gig back to the floor switches. Those only have a gig to the building switch, that only has a gig to the core switches and so on. However, all in all I still get blazing fast speeds on the network because people aren't all using it at the same time. Thus we can afford to roll out gig. We couldn't if we had to do dedicated bandwidth. We'd need two 10gig connections just from our switch to the floor switches, the building would probably need OC-768, maybe more than one. I shudder to think what the core switches would have to have.

      Ok well same deal but larger on the Internet. So unless everyone wants to have rather slow, pricey, connections the only option is some limits to make sure people share.

      In Japan, it doesn't at all surprise me that they'd have limits like this because the trend seems to be to sell connections with allegedly massive speeds with low prices. All the time on Slashdot we see stories about how in Japan you can have 100 or 1000mbit Internet for cheap. Ya well ok, here's news for you: You can't really have that. Yes the physical signaling rate might be that high, but you aren't getting that kind of speed all the time everywhere. They couldn't afford the links required for that. For that matter you generally don't even get your peak speeds except to others on the same ISP. I've seen people from Japan talk about how fast tehy get a file, but when you do the math it works out to 10-20mb/sec, same kind of thing you get on US cable connections.

      Where I live at least, you have a choice to a large degree because you can buy business class connections. My cable company (Cox) sells both residential and business connections. They follow the same bandwidth tiers, though in a given tier business connections usually have a little more upload speed. However, business connections are a whole lot more expensive. Well why is that? They can't make you buy a business connection.

      Well the reason is business connections don't have restrictions, residential ones do. You can't run servers on residential connections, you can on business connections. If you do too much traffic on a residential connection they'll call you and/or throttle you. On a business connection you can do as much as you like and you'll hear not a thing. The tradeoff is that max speeds you'd get for like $40-50 on a residential connection, you'll pay $120 for on a business connection.

      So if you really want to pay more, look in to it because you probably can. However, don't then cry that it is in fact a good bit more. Also, you probalby don't really want ISPs selling you access for the prices they pay. High grade lines are very pricey. That is why they get that, and then oversubscribe it. They can resell it for lower cost since they have more customers. On OC-3 circuit (155mbps) to a Tier 1 provider is generally in the realm of $10,000 and up per month. Means if they were to sell you a 15mbps cable connection at "their rates" you'd be paying like a grand a month. Better perhaps that you then share with a few people and get a more reasonable price.

      • Means if they were to sell you a 15mbps cable connection at "their rates" you'd be paying like a grand a month.

        It really depends on who your provider is - Cogent has been offering a lot of folks $1.50/Mbps on a 1 gig commit lately. Sure, it's Cogent, but still, having a dedicated 1 gigabit pipe for $1500/month isn't anything to sneeze at if the quality of the routing/latency isn't that critical.
      • I would argue from evidence that it is in fact possible to actually deliver the speed, given that my connection has been averaging ~17mbit combined throughput over the last year, with peaks up to the 100mbit limit regularly (which it never fails to deliver either). This a residential connection for a flat 43e a month. Now, granted, you're correct in that it would be very difficult indeed to achieve that if every single customer used as much, but the point is that they don't, which is why you *can* really ha
        • by dkf (304284)

          Now, granted, you're correct in that it would be very difficult indeed to achieve that if every single customer used as much, but the point is that they don't, which is why you *can* really have that - the isp in question just needs to not oversell *too* much.

          The more they oversell, the lower they can keep their prices (whether or not they do so is another matter). Simple economics. For almost all usage patterns, overselling is fine as traffic is bursty (stochastic sharing is effective) but when you've got people doing bulk downloads and bulk uploads 24/7, that's a different pattern. What's worse is when people are playing tricks to raise the priority of bulk traffic.

          Of course, you can pay more to reduce the level of sharing. This is what a business class connec

      • If the ISPs were honest about what connections cost them users would be more willing to pay, knowing that their profits are reasonable. But they don't because their profits even at current levels are probably unreasonable, and "business class" just comes with a premium price, and even more inflated profits. Usenet providers, for example, are able to provide users with tremendous storage and bandwidth for very little, and though they are different from ISPs, the biggest difference is that there is competitio
      • by shermo (1284310)

        I'm sure there are lessons that can be learnt by comparing internet supply with the electricity industry.

        If everyone ran their ovens/plasma screen tvs/heaters at the same time the system wouldn't be able to cope. So as the system approaches this situation the spot price of electricity goes up. Residential users aren't exposed to this, since most are on a fixed price.

        However a few things happen. Large users that are exposed to the spot price (mostly industrials) reduce their usage. Lines companies turn off p

    • That's great math, but even as a heavy user living in Japan myself, I couldn't feasibly use that amount of data in a month. Frankly, there are very few servers I can connect to that can hold up their end of the transfer.

  • Gutless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dark grep (766587) on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:49AM (#30428064)
    How gutless of the ISP to not admit it. EVERY ISP outside of perhaps the USA and Europe does it. Bandwidth is just too expensive not to. Many ISP's in Australia denied it for years, until they were 'outed' by one honest ISP who told everyone up front what they were doing.
    • Bless those that have guts and integrity. I wish that ISP was here in America, I would buy from them on principle.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Actually, I never had any issues with Internode (www.internode.on.net) throttling my P2P. Initially, I used to be with TPG (and to be honest, when they were first around, they didn't throttle it either and were half decent) but around 2-3 years ago, they changed their policy and throttled the buggery out of anything P2P. I can tell you that trying to download a warcraft patch (well, the major ones anyhow) for 2 days just isn't good enough. At the moment, Optus Cable seems quite good too, though I only get
      • by strack (1051390)
        im currently on internode. and of all the broadband ISPs ive ever had (and ive had a few), it is by and far the best. the p2p speeds are fast, latency is low, and their freezone has abc's iview, and nasatv!
      • I've heard good things about Internode too. I've been with iiNet ever since they were first of the block with dsl2+, and I strongly suspect them of throttling P2P. Fortunately I don't use it enough to care much, and I'm moving in 6 months, so it's not worth the trouble of dumping them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonwil (467024)

      Not all Aussie ISPs are doing it. Mostly its the smaller ISPs that are doing it, the big boys like Internode and iiNet and TPG dont.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Not all Aussie ISPs are doing it. Mostly its the smaller ISPs that are doing it, the big boys like Internode and iiNet and TPG dont.

        So Optus and Telstra aren't big to you?

        Granted I'd never buy broadband from them but they are not small, Optus is off the phone provider list too until it pulls it's arse into line with Android.

        • by jonwil (467024)

          I said "mostly"
          I didnt even think to check the policies of Optus or Telstra, mostly because I (like you) have completly blacklisted all products from Optus and everything from Telstra except the minimum home phone I need to get my ADSL

    • by severn2j (209810)
      Im pretty sure ISP's in Europe do it as well, although not restricted to P2P. I have a 20Mbit "unlimited" connection with Virgin Media, and if I download a large amount of data in one go, say 5GB+, the bandwidth drops to 5Mbit after 4GB's or so, then goes back upto 20MBits after a few hours of not downloading.. Coincidence? I dont think so.
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        I have a 20Mbit "unlimited" connection with Virgin Media, and if I download a large amount of data in one go, say 5GB+, the bandwidth drops to 5Mbit after 4GB's or so, then goes back upto 20MBits after a few hours of not downloading.. Coincidence? I dont think so.

        Virgin is actually one of the mainstream ISPs that are doing caps for all users (as compared to BT, who only do caps on congested areas at peak times), maybe you should have investigated a bit before going with them? http://allyours.virginmedia.com [virginmedia.com]

    • by thue (121682)

      Is bandwidth really that expensive? I am administrating a connection for 300 college student, which is run without any limitations whatsoever. The connection is 100Mbit/100Mbit, which is seldom fully used.

      The bandwidth costs are $4/person. Maybe $8/person if you include establishment costs for laying the fiber.

      So when you hear about ISPs adding limitations, I think it is often a question of them trying to squeeze the last dime out.

  • by Camael (1048726) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:00AM (#30428114)
    Most of these isps try to justify their actions with the excuse that they need to restrict pvp users so that other users consuming less bandwidth can enjoy decent surfing/transfer rates. While arguably laudable, what really irks me is that these plans were largely sold to users (including pvp users) as non-capped unlimited bandwidth plans. If they wish to restrict or apply caps, they should be up-front about it. And by up-front, I don't mean burying it in the contract's fine print. These throttling and scanning attempts would likely lead to civil suits for breach of contract, fraud and/or deceptive advertising in any other industry. It's surely not a coincidence that the Israeli and Japanese ISPs referred to are actively trying to hide their actions. The difficulty is that it is difficult for individual users to challenge the actions of these ISPs who more often than not have deep pockets or a near monopoly over internet connectivity in their sphere of the world. Corporate bullying at its best.
    • by g4b (956118)
      <quote>Most of these isps try to justify their actions with the excuse that they need to restrict pvp users so that other users consuming less bandwidth can enjoy decent surfing/transfer rates.</quote>

      I really don't care much about those nasty PvP users, I am still for banning them from the net, looting me sad little pvm user last month...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      restrict pvp users

      No wonder the Battlegrounds have been so laggy lately...

    • by westlake (615356) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:02AM (#30429492)

      While arguably laudable, what really irks me is that these plans were largely sold to users (including pvp users) as non-capped unlimited bandwidth plans.

      I'd be very much surprised if your contract for broadband service at the mass market price includes any quaranteed quality of service whatever.

      The adds will promise an "always on" connection and speeds up to X - when and as available. Nothing more.

      Pretty much the same deal the telephone company was offering in 1886.
         

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kjella (173770)

        The adds will promise an "always on" connection and speeds up to X - when and as available. Nothing more.

        Yes, but there's two versions of that:
        1) Most of the time, under normal circumstances, you typically get what's advertized
        2) Under extremely ideal conditions on a quiet night you might get what's advertized

        I do have a 20 Mbit residential connection, and I have the former. My ToS is as wooly as everybody else's, there's no guaranteed QoS but there are consumer protections in place to make sure you know what you get. If it'd been 20 Mbit burst and lower sustained, they'd have to say so. If there's a cap they

      • First off, it was unlimited when I first got signed up. Forget some translation of the word years later, unlimited meant just that, at my speeds I get all I can eat. Not that I had unlimited connection time. Which even still really means the same thing, I have unlimited connection time at the speeds signed up for... It was understood that if I interfered with others though, through hacking the main box down the street, etc. that I would get cut off and eventually ISPs had to throttle to some extent for thos

        • by dkf (304284)

          No! We're not gonna take it! We're not gonna take it, anymore.

          Stop paying them and you'll indeed not have to put up with it for very much longer.

          • Stop paying them and you'll indeed not have to put up with it for very much longer.

            That is not a good thing to do. I would just be giving them what they want. Me to leave since I use my service. That is just laying down, and giving other ISPs reason to do the same. Then I am merely facilitating it.

  • I thought that was our Govts job (Australia) to be the official buttkissers of the US Govt and lobby groups
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by gmhowell (26755)

      Haven't you heard about our obesity epidemic in the US? There's plenty of ass for everyone to kiss.

  • Call me skeptical (Score:5, Informative)

    by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:05AM (#30428144)
    I do question the level of this research. Just as one example of sloppines: They describe checktor as "a company that’s meant to assist copyright holders," yet in the link they provide, it is very clear that checktor (a non-profit that scans torrents for viruses) has nothing to do with assisting copyright holders. In fact the page is telling copyright holders to bug off.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The article has some other problems. The authors are very indignant about caching, but this actually *helps* the users get a faster download. What's wrong with caching?

      Very inconclusive other than on the caching point, and they have it backwards.

  • In New Zealand, Xtra offer an unlimited plan [telecom.co.nz], however they do traffic management on it. Meaning if you use any P2P software your connection is slowed down to dialup speed (much the same if you go over your cap on a limited plan) for about 24 hours after the program (Transmission etc.) is stopped before it returns back to full speed.
    • by strack (1051390)
      no matter what the contract says, they should be sued for advertising that they provide 'internet' access when they effectively censor parts of the internet. not that im a lawyer or anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nedlohs (1335013)

        Yes they should be sued for actually advertising exactly what they are delivering.

        • What, an 'unlimited' plan which has limits?

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Please show me where the word unlimited it used in reference to that plan (by the ISP obviously, not by a random slashdot poster).

            Or are you just making shit up?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      In New Zealand, Xtra offer an unlimited plan, however they do traffic management on it. Meaning if you use any P2P software your connection is slowed down to dialup speed (much the same if you go over your cap on a limited plan) for about 24 hours after the program (Transmission etc.) is stopped before it returns back to full speed.

      That's an interesting description of it. I couldn't ever get anyone to tell me anything about how it worked. Perhaps it was the bittorrent updates for WoW that triggered it,
      • Maybe checking the box under Options labeled "Disable P2P transfer" with the description "In some situations you may need to disable peer to peer transmission." would have helped you.

        I turn that off because my router is a PoS with a NAT table I am sure is stored on vinyl 33's and it buckles under the load. I still get my full 1MB/s downstream from Blizzard servers, though. Guess everyone else is happy to P2P the patches :D
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          I didn't know there was a "if you P2P, we pretty much shut you off" policy. When I called and asked, they said only specific protocols were affected to protect the network, but wouldn't give me any more information than that. So it's too late, I dropped that after a week. As I said, it was unusable. I don't know what made it unusable for me, but it's possible that it was WoW, as that's the only thing I used that could be confused with P2P.
  • The "study" in question was performed in an extremely amateurish, non-scientific way.

    http://2jk.org/english/?p=153 [2jk.org]

    Read it for a good laugh or too, but don't give it any weight because it deserves none.

    • by Kickasso (210195)

      "or too" --> "or two". I need some sleep...

    • by ghostdoc (1235612)

      /agree

      I read the paper with increasing incredulousness.

      While we were unable to review the Switzerland logs, mostly due to our failure to coordinate between volunteers’ time to run the scripts, Switzerland assisted us in finding some interesting conclusions. We left a server to seed a .torrent file of a public domain video; our volunteers downloaded and uploaded the file again and again, looking for potential interference by the ISP or RST packets. We were unable to produce any substantial results or conclusions regarding traffic, mostly due to Switzerland’s interface.

      So they didn't get anything from Switzerland...

      The Glasnost tests appeared to be more rigorously done, but 8 samples is a very low population, and there appeared to be no control.

      Plus the out-of-context:

      However, after a massive number of attempts, we found out that another user is seeding our torrent, from the IP address 212.235.15.36 and not from the libTorrent Client we used (screenshot, screenshot ). We found a mention of such IP address in an Israeli Hardware forum describing it as one of Netvision’s caching servers (HWZone, 2009).

      And no attempt to ascertain and eliminate alternative causes for the results.

      Oh, and the spelling mistakes.

      Like Kickasso said...this is worthless.

  • Told you so! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dushkin (965522) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:30AM (#30428484) Homepage

    For the last year or so I've been in Israel, so naturally my ISP is Israeli.

    I've spent countless hours with them on the phone trying to get around this thing. I told them bittorrent was acting ridiculously slow, but they gave me the old excuse of "not our fault, it's p2p" which I was willing to accept for a while.

    Then I noticed skype started messing with me, giving me ridiculous dial-up quality sound. Fun fact, my ISP is also a phone provider.

    Makes you wonder.

    • Try a vpn

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Most of the throttling stuff now can find a VoIP call in a VPN. A very steady stream of small packets of about 8k-64kbps? I don't care if you put that in a VPN, that looks like a VoIP call to them. Wanna hide it with packet bundling? There goes your jitter.
    • by gilboad (986599)

      Try changing ISP.
      I'm using 013 and I can't say that I notice any slowdown in skype or bit-torrent. ... Most likely they are screwing around with my P2P (amule is ridiculously slow), but that's about it.

      - Gilboa

    • It's a bit nasty of them to fool with skype. It's not as if it creates a huge demand on bandwidth, even if it does use P2P to underpin its protocol.

      I've had this problem from time to time with certain university connections, and have sometimes found that changing skype's default port setting to port 80 helps to get around some of the lag. YMMV.
    • This post was just begging for a [NO CARRIER] joke.
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      OT, where are you from and how do you like living there? It seems like a place with a fairly solid tech industry and a completely different culture from the US, which sounds like a place I might want to experience, but I haven't really researched it much.

  • I bet the Dutch are somehow involved.
  • by PHPfanboy (841183) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:56AM (#30429464)

    Given that:
    1) the ISP situation is completely wacko in this country you pay first for a physical line connection (from Phone Monopoly or from Cable Monopoly) and then extra for a completely separate ISP (who are the ones investigated here) where both need extra payment for faster connections
    2) the physical line companies are upgrading their infrastructure to give 50 mbps level speed and movie/TV content service and/or also provide VOD services

    I would be surprised if this is NOT happening.

    Israeli telecoms/utilities companies are not renowned for good value for money and there are plenty of IP-traffic related companies looking for cheap pilot installations which they can leverage as references when they go to sell in global markets.

    Aside from Israelis not liking to pay for anything unless they have to, there are few legal purchasing outlets for digital content and if you want music/movies your choice is pretty much:
    1) buy a CD (remember them!)
    2) download it from P2P
    3) have a credit card and bank account in a foreign country that does have an iTunes Music Store (for example)

  • I'd have been surprised if they DIDN'T find anything.

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