UPDATE: the Times BITS Blog has totally re-written its story, removing most of the incendiary language, so this post is now officially academic. A similar piece in The Register has also been re-written. It would be a lot easier for everyone if our blogger/journalists would get things right the first time, but better late than not even.
Comcast’s “protocol agnostic” network management system has been generally praised by all parties in the network neutrality debate as a sane and sensible approach to congestion management. As the system enters trials today in two locations, the praise has been tempered by some irrational criticism. Saul Hansell, a New York Times blogger, sees the new system as something quite nefarious, a “blacklist:”
It will test new devices that will keep track of Comcast users and assemble a blacklist of heavy users. Those on the blacklist will find that all of their online activities may slow down at peak times: from downloading movies to checking e-mail.
This account is extremely bizarre, but not unprecedented. Saul Hansell, meet your progenitor.