The University of California Santa Cruz has joined the growing list of colleges that interfere with P2P traffic. UCSC administrators informed students this week that the school has started to completely block Gnutella traffic and limit Bittorrent traffic. The email to students reads:

"To help speed up the network for legitimate uses and reduce the risk of “accidental” copyright infringement we have purchased and are now using a network device that can control different types of network traffic. So far it has been configured to block software that uses the Gnutella protocol such as Limewire and eDonkey, and to limit BitTorrent to 1 Mb/s inbound and 128 Kb/s outbound per IP address. Those numbers may change at some point."

Granted, limiting Bittorrent traffic to 1 MB/s doesn't sound that bad when you compare it to other schools that have outright banned the use of any P2P application. Still, some UCSC students are up in arms, like the author of the projectb14ck blog:

"As a student here myself, I find it completely insane that the school is spending not only my tuition money, but also funding from everyone who lives in California to pay for new network devices to restrict network traffic. I thought that universities were supposed to be defending free speech and information."

Projectb14ck also has a simple trick to get around the file sharing restrictions: Just tell network admins that you are using your account for online gaming and they'll grant you unfiltered access. Of course the hack won't work forever. Says projectb14ck:

"What we really need is to generate enough commotion and let the school administration know that we will NOT tolerate these kinds of actions."

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