Big Brother’s New Name is AT&T want to Scour the Web for Pirates; Verizon says, “No.”

AT&T, at the behest of Hollywood, is ready to start “Network Filtering.” That is, monitoring the packets of information that sail across their networks, in order to stop distribution of works under copyright.

Y’know, spying.

I frankly think the entire system and thought behind copyright law needs an overhaul, (I invite you to check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and their efforts at “Copyfighting”) but whatever your views on it I don’t want my ISP monitoring what goes on in my computer any more than I want my phone company listening to my telephone conversations.

Oh, wait, these are the same bastards that did that for the Bush Administration.

And they’re not alone, Comcast has been bottlenecking Bit Torrent transfers for some time. Doesn’t matter if the content is legal or not, Comcast is throttling Bit Torrent. Have fun waiting for that mandatory game patch on Warcraft!

Once these measures are in place, does anyone really think the policing will stop at copyright violations? I know this is an Industry Town and all, but I am not ready to sacrifice what may prove to be the last bastion of the First Amendment just so little Johnny can’t illegally download Cloverfield.

Fortunately, not all ISPs are on board. Verizon is telling Hollywood to shove it.

(Follow me over the jump where they can’t see us…)

Tom Tauke, Verizon’s executive vice president for public affairs spoke to Saul Hansill at the New York Times:

“We generally are reluctant to get into the business of examining content that flows across our networks and taking some action as a result of that content,”

He goes on to express his disdain for becoming policemen on the web, but the bottom line seems to be not wanting to become liable:

“When you look back at the history of copyright legislation, there has been an effort by Hollywood to pin the liability for copyright violations on the network that transmits the material. It is no secret they think we have deeper pockets than others and we are easy-to-find targets.”

This is comforting to me. I have a natural distrust of large corporations, so when they display behavior I approve of, I always want to know what’s in it for them. Guess it’s time to endorse the “If you screw up after trying to stop pirating in the first place, Hollywood will try and blame you,” party line. Whatever works.

You are reading this on the internet. You are, by definition, an internet user. If YOU don’t stand up for Net Neutrality who will?

Or maybe you should just help them install a camera in your bedroom.

Thanks to Saul Hansill and Brad Stone of the New York Times, Luke O’Brien of Wired, Chris Soghoian of cNet News and Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing.

Also, thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

11 thoughts on “Big Brother’s New Name is AT&T”

  1. Yes, thanks AT&T. Thanks as well as slamming me with joke of the day and making me fight 4 months to get the charges reversed. Thanks as well for slamming us with texting on my daughters phone for $30 a month after I specifically had it removed from her plan. Thanks for the 3 months to get it removed and never removing the charges. I think that is interfering with parental rights as well as subscriber rights. It all is illegal and I have filed complaints with every agency that will listen.

    Nice write up Rob.

  2. I too got stuck with that joke of the day bs. The jokes aren’t even funny! AT&T told me that someone must have signed up and miskeyed their number and typed mine in. Now, that’s funny.

  3. As someone who work in the entertainment industry (post production), I routinely send what I am sure AT&T, MPAA and RIAA consider copyrighted files. It’s part of my job, and I have the OK of the copyright holders. How are they going to deal with that – do I attach a waiver? Get a “pro” account? I understand that I am a minority on the web in this problem, but I still need to get a TV show done every week.

  4. I hate these fucking arrogant telecomms. They have us by the balls, the perfect captive audience. They think that they can violate us front and back, while we keep our sheepish little tails between our legs. We really need to oppose their illegal and unfair policies, and if they don’t listen to us, then we should boycott them. But, I don’t have much hope in the average american to give a rat’s ass about corporate accountability, or their own best interests.

  5. Why SRFGECKO, whatever makes you think I just sat there and tucked my tail or anything else? I have my complaints filed with the regulatory agency’s. I have had my talks with class action attorney’s. I am a practioner if not a founder of consumer guerilla warfare. I don’t take getting screwed nicely.

  6. What i have decided to live by.

    They already know everything they want and know what I look like.

    After going to the hollywood bowl while waiting for the subway my friend was tipsy and was a bit loud and we asked him to chill all of a sudden he looks at the camera above and gives his s.s.#.
    Very Orwellian.

    Put things in perspective, Face recognition cameras, drivers lisc.,
    your vons club card, etc…..posting here.

  7. True, they already have any information they want, but there is a difference between information and ACTIONABLE information.

    And it’s an important difference.

    Burying your head in the sand by saying, “Oh, they already know,” is a big part of what they are relying on. Don’t do it.

    Sure they already know anything they really want to know, but they can’t legally use it all yet. Fear tactics are being employed to overturn the laws already in place. Apathy may allow them to overturn the rest. Frankly, there may be no stopping them.

    But DAMNED if I’m not gonna try.

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