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04 August 2008, 08:55

EFF release Switzerland; net neutrality testing tool

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released Switzerland, an alpha version of a tool for testing the neutrality of internet service providers (ISPs). Switzerland is designed to check the integrity of communications over networks, ISPs and firewalls by spotting IP packets which are forged or modified by some element in the connection and alert the user with copies of the modified packets.

The EFF is campaigning for network neutrality; stopping network providers interfering with the traffic that travels over them either by throttling, blocking or modification. Fred Lochmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney wrote "The sad truth is that the FCC is ill-equipped to detect ISPs interfering with your Internet connection, 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."

The EFF says that Switzerland should be able to detect advertising injection systems like Phorm, anti-P2P tools from Sandvine and AudibleMagic and censorship systems like the Great Firewall of China, but is not limited to these detections as it spots any packet modifications. Using a semi-P2P architecture, Switzerland clients send packets to each other and to Switzerland servers and analyses the packets as received between the different locations. The applications design automates the analysis operations which previously had to be done by hand when using a previous EFF tool pcapdiff.

Switzerland is a GPL licensed command line application available as source code hosted on Sourceforge and is part of the EFF's "Test Your ISP" project.


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