27 January, 2008

Is it Big Brother?

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article that is very 1984ish.

It talks about AT&T and alleged plans they have to monitor and sensor the internet traffic that travels over their networks. According to the article, the network giant is planning on blocking material that is potentially copyrighted and other violations of intellectual property laws.

At first thought, one might think this is a violation of the 1st amendment, but I would have to disagree. The 1st Amendment protects us from government censorship. It isn't designed for a private entity (i.e. AT&T) to monitor and regulate what happens on its privately owned assets (i.e. their network). It would be the same as a mall regulating the objectionable activities in its halls.

I'm not sure where I come out on this. Should they be allowed to do so? The capitalist in me says yes, the concerned citizen in my says no.

I understand that Federal law protects network owners from liability in patent infringement cases. But lets be serious.. in today's increasingly litigious society, it makes sense to take as many safeguards as possible to protect yourself. Especially when it costs so much to defend yourself in a lawsuit, even one that has little to no merit.

It brings me back to 'If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about'. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it's true.

You can read the posting here.

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1 comment:

Volvo Guy said...

So if that is the case 'It isn't designed for a private entity to monitor or regulate what happens on its privately owned assets.' wouldn't a better example be cameras in changing rooms at the mall rather than the hallway example? True, it is thier network, but I pay for X amount of bandwidth, that would be mine for the time that I use it. It a lease, which gives me private ownership of it... Just a thought...