RIAA Demands ISP's To Spy On Their Users
By Derrick Devine
Article Date: 2008-06-16
ISP's are beginning to bow to RIAA demands and spying on their users. This is odd if you consider them a communications company... like the telephone companies are.
For example, do you talk on the cell phone each day? How about a LAN line? What if...AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile (I've probably hit about 80% of you) monitored your phone conversations? You're probably saying, "well, they already do" and you'd be right to some degree...but what if they monitored your line not for terrorism or keywords flagged by the US Government...what if they monitored your line for ANY illegal activity at all?
Say you were remarking to your friend about a deal down at Best Buy that was "a steal". Told your mom how you "swiped a $beverage" from your buddies house. What if these keywords flagged you as one who participated in illegal activity if you discussed them on the phone? And what if your carriers had a "3 strikes and you're out" policy? You'd find yourself phoneless based on the topics of your conversation. Sound far fetched?
It may not be. Compare the idea above to what Internet Service Providers (ISP) are doing. ISP's are bowing to the RIAA (and BPI) and spying on their users...monitoring the topic of your communication and cutting you off if your communications do not live up to their standards. Virgin
Media in the UK is the first major ISP doing this...
It seems ridiculous that an ISP can tell you what you should or should commicate about...which isn't unlike a phone company telling you what to converse about over the phone. But it's happening.
The RIAA is stupid for trying to get ISP's to do this because they're tromping on the idea of freedom of speech and expression. ISP's are dumb to try and do this because if they start to monitor and police, they become LIABLE...which means lawsuits and increased expendetures. In all, it's a losing battle. The phone company can't be held liable every time a criminal or terrorist plots something using their service and just like that, ISP's should keep their noses out of what consumers communicate.
This is why net neutrality is so important. Broadband needs to be neutral...when ISP's pull what Virgin is trying to do, a new and smaller company that doesn't do this would be able to rise and snare customers that jump ship from Virgin and the underlying network won't be controlled by Virgin so they won't be able to do anything about it.
It's imperative that we keep our internet like we keep our software...free and transparent. Open to all.
About the Author:
Derrick Devine started Yet Another Linux Blog in 2004-5 to chronicle his desktop Linux learning experience and to provide tips and tricks to the community. Currently, he is the webmaster for 4 major websites in the open source world and has recently joined the developer ranks for PCLinuxOS. Derrick also helps develop Foresight Linux on the KDE team there.
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