Once again, someone at TLF has defined a market success so narrowly, that by his very definition, it is impossible ever to discuss an example of a market failure. Here we have Jim Harper, discussing the recent supression by Comcast of Bit torrent traffic:
But I expect that we’ll soon learn more about the situation, and the conclusions to be drawn from it will be less obvious. There might be legitimate security reasons for what Comcast has done. We’ll see. We should expect full disclosure from Comcast.
My take: If Comcast is “shaping” traffic inconsistent with their terms of service, for non-network-security reasons such as copyright protection or surreptitious usage control, they shouldn’t be doing that.
More important is the meta-point: Independent testers found what they believe to be an impropriety in Comcast’s provision of broadband. They called it out, and interested parties among advocacy organizations and the media swarmed all over it. Comcast has to answer the charge, whether meritorious or not.
These are market processes working their will, and the outcome will be reached in short order-
By this very low standard, it is impossible for there ever to be anything disclosed that is an example of a market failure and that would therefore require government intervention because if it is discovered and therefore discussed, Jim would just say something like:
“My meta-point remains: Independent testing revealed alleged wrongful behavior by Comcast and an array of forces are requiring them to account for it. This is being done through operation of the market, without government intervention.”
However, realize that this is just yet another example of a large corporation stifling public discussion to further its business plan. The internet is the new town square, and to permit toll booths and road blocks and secret protocols to intervene is unacceptable. Comcast has, despite the gnashing of teeth of the libertarians, convincingly made the argument for network neutrality legislation that no one else had as yet made so eloquently.
The secret throttling of bandwidth is restraint of freedom of speech; many use Bit torrent to disseminate minority political speech that would otherwise be less accessible. Further, it cannot be ignored that the distribution of linux and FOSS to dismantle the centralized power structures of large corporations is itself an act with a political dimension. So, any attempt to dismantle or disrupt Bit torrent traffic is a de facto act of political repression.