Scott Kirwin sends this along:
I would be interested to see you post on this [New York Times: “AT&T and Other I.S.P.’s May Be Getting Ready to Filter”].
Specifically, wouldn’t such control over traffic negate the “carrier” argument advanced over the past few decades that they were simply carrying the traffic and weren’t responsible for the content?
Also, wouldn’t their screening for copyrighted material also open them up to screening for other material – such as hate speech?
The implications of this seem so huge that I’m sure cooler heads will prevail in the end.
Still.. It’s a bit chilling..
I’m curious to hear what you think.
Well, Scott, thanks for asking. Short answer: I think it’s impossible to let this happen, because besides the fact that I am very dubious about screening for “hate speech” — because hate speech has, exactly as civil libertarians predicted, become a far too plastic concept — and besides the fact that this will inevitably lead to more powerful tools for censorship and information “control” by governments and others…
Besides those facts, even though one would have to be a fool not to acknowledge the problem of Internet piracy, I have no interest whatsoever in trusting Big IP to identify or otherwise provide coordinates for identifying their supposedly proprietary works by technological, non-judicial means on so neutral a territory as the network level of the Internet. Not in a million years! There is no reason the studios and record companies can or should be trusted with such a privileged perch on the pressure points of the world’s information dissemination system. In fact, it would probably amount to unconstitutional prior restraint to give them such power.
God help us if it ever comes to that. God help us, really, from the highly likely possibility, however, that if Disney and Friends ask for it from the Congress, they just might get it.
Hope I haven’t been too ambiguous about my opinion. But you did ask.