The New AT&T: Team Hollywood, Internet Police

News is traveling quickly of AT&T’s intent to filter copyrighted content on portions of the Internet it controls. It’s been repeated a million times before, but briefly: The New AT&T wants to transform itself into a content provider, serving up Internet TV. Obviously, people trading copyrighted television shows for free over the Internet(s) is a direct contradiction to that business model. Conveniently for The New AT&T, they also have a stranglehold on much of the Internet backbone in the United States. Thus, they’re going to use that capacity and attempt to start filtering out content that doesn’t pass muster as legit.

In other words, The New AT&T is sacrificing itself as a neutral network provider — really, how could they be expected to provide neutral network services and be a content provider at the same time? Where would the incentive be, besides drawing the ire of regulators, to permit competitors on their network? When I say competitors, think YouTube — Alex Curtis believes they could be the first target of a joint Hollywood/AT&T hit. I’m only scratching the surface, too — there is much more to this than just the business angle. What about consumer privacy? (It’s bad enough that they forward traffic to the NSA.) Does AT&T, and only AT&T, reserve the right to regulate what is and isn’t acceptable on the public Internet? The answers to these questions will have a lasting effect on the Internet as we know it.

One thing is for certain: The New AT&T sure seems to be just as sinister as the old one. I hope the regulators get on the horn to AT&T and find out what the deal is, because so far to me this flies in the face of the provisions that were set when AT&T acquired SBC and later BellSouth. I guess they just haven’t learned their lesson from the first time they were broken up…

2 thoughts on “The New AT&T: Team Hollywood, Internet Police

  1. NotMyBest2Day

    Well I mean, it is the public Internet(s), so it should be public and for the most part, have free reign to transfer whatever data anyone wants to transfer, but I think The New AT&T feels that since they now own all of these companies that own the links, whatever data is being transferred on links they own can be messed with however they feel it should be.

    I’m all for freedom on the Internet(s), but at the same time, I think they do actually have a legitimate case, as per the previous paragraph.

    What do you think about the whole thing about all ISPs (which seems to be, quite unsurprisingly, The New AT&T) have to have their systems ready to be “hijacked” by the government, so they can “search for terrorists” by monitoring people that have nothing to do with anything even remotely important. Looking forward..

  2. NotMyBest2Day

    Well I mean, it is the public Internet(s), so it should be public and for the most part, have free reign to transfer whatever data anyone wants to transfer, but I think The New AT&T feels that since they now own all of these companies that own the links, whatever data is being transferred on links they own can be messed with however they feel it should be.

    I’m all for freedom on the Internet(s), but at the same time, I think they do actually have a legitimate case, as per the previous paragraph.

    What do you think about the whole thing about all ISPs (which seems to be, quite unsurprisingly, The New AT&T) have to have their systems ready to be “hijacked” by the government, so they can “search for terrorists” by monitoring people that have nothing to do with anything even remotely important. Looking forward..

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