The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a rights advocacy group based in San Francisco, released a software program last week that lets you track whether your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is purposefully making your connection run slower. Called Switzerland, the software monitors packet forgery, a technique by which ISPs add overhead to your broadband line. Instead of just slowing down the connection, packet forgeries are like adding potholes to a highway that you -- and anyone you connect to -- are travelling. Switzerland uses a separate server for monitoring your traffic: it compares the way your traffic looks to the way it should, and alerts you to any discrepancy.
According to Peter Eckersley, an EFF technologist involved with the Switzerland project, there's just not enough transparency for end-users to know whether a service provider is deliberately tampering with their connection and therefore reducing the value of the service.