Does your ISP interfere with your file-sharing traffic? Find out below.
File-sharing, made rapid and easy by software including BitTorrent, has exploded in use besides increased broadband penetration worldwide. It's important to remember that BitTorrent searches and BitTorrent clients -- such as uTorrent, BitTorrent and Tixati -- and the practice of file-sharing between computers is not an illegal one. However, ISPs have throttled speeds if BitTorrent clients are in use in the past for traffic management purposes, and more recently -- as many people use the software in order to obtain intellectual property-protected files, such as films, music and television shows -- the practice has spread.
Internet service providers are not always transparent over this practice, however, it is now possible to find out if your ISP is in on the game.
The Glasnost application, developed by the Max Planck Institute, can be used for free in order to detect meddling in the use of BitTorrent, eMule and Gnutella, as well as video streaming sites including YouTube, e-mail, Usenet, HTTP transfer, and SSH transfer protocols.
Based on M-Lab tests of at least 100 connections performed between December 2012 and December 2013, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore were the worst data throttlers, with 74 percent, 61 percent and 53 percent of tested connections having been tampered with respectively. The US had a throttling rate of 14 percent, whereas the UK was the second most throttled country in Europe with 28 percent, beaten only by Poland with 35 percent.
Greece and Romania performed more positively, with tests showing only 7 and 9 percent of limited BitTorrent connections.
If we then take a look at which Internet service providers throttle speeds the most, in the United States, Comcast throttles roughly 12 percent of connections. Cox interferes with 13 percent of connections, whereas Verizon manipulates only nine percent of connections. However, as the publication notes, throttling rates are beginning to creep higher again after taking a dive when ComCast was exposed for controlling customers' file-sharing traffic several years ago -- causing a dive of 50 percent throttling rates to the single digits.
In the UK, Orange is the most throttle-happy ISP, with a limiting rate of 38 percent. BT comes in second with 35 percent, whereas TalkTalk throttles only 10 percent of connections.
For information on your ISP, check out M-Lab's diagnostic tools.