EFF releases ISP-checking tool

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a new software tool to let users keep an eye on their ISPs.

The 'Switzerland' tool probes the user's network connection and checks to see whether or not the service provide has put restrictions on peer-to-peer traffic. Release of the tool marks a rare foray into software development by the EFF, which normally provides legal services.

"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," explained Peter Eckersley the EFF Staff Technologist who designed Switzerland.

"Switzerland is designed to make general-purpose ISP testing faster and easier."

The release of the tool comes on the heels of the FCC's ruling that ISPs in the US cannot purposely restrict certain types of traffic. The decision came as the result of a case brought against Comcast for its limits on the amount of bandwidth afforded to traffic for peer-to-peer services.

According to the EFF, however, the task of keeping an eye on the ISPs may still fall down to the individual user.

"The sad truth is that the FCC is ill-equipped to detect ISPs interfering with your Internet connection," said Fred von Lohmann, the group's 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."

Users can download the Switzerland tool from the EFF's website.
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