During a panel discussion at the annual consumer electronics show, representatives from NBC, Microsoft and AT&T made the case for filtering Internet content at the service provider level. The idea is to stop the movement of copyrighted material, but there is a large, scary implication: allowing the pipe owner to control what passes through.
New York Times:
Mr. Cicconi [AT&T’s James Cicconi] said that AT&T has been talking to technology companies, and members of the MPAA and RIAA, for the last six months about implementing digital fingerprinting techniques on the network level.
“We are very interested in a technology based solution and we think a network-based solution is the optimal way to approach this,” he said. “We recognize we are not there yet but there are a lot of promising technologies. But we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies, including NBC Universal, to try to explore various technologies that are out there.”
Internet civil rights organizations oppose network-level filtering, arguing that it amounts to Big Brother monitoring of free speech, and that such filtering could block the use of material that may fall under fair-use legal provisions—uses like parody, which enrich our culture.