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436 comments

Oh good... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498221)

I was wondering when they were going to give up their common carrier status. Now they can all go to jail for monopoly!

ISPs are not common carriers. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498429)

ISPs are not common carriers. There is a difference between voice and data, according to (stupid) law.

Communications Decency Act Section 230 (4, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498959)

AT&T may not be a "Common Carrier" with respect to data, but it is (was) provided immunity by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act [wikipedia.org] :

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
In analyzing the availability of the immunity offered by this provision, courts generally apply a three-prong test. A defendant must satisfy each of the three prongs to gain the benefit of the immunity:
  1. The defendant must be a "provider or user" of an "interactive computer service."
  2. The cause of action asserted by the plaintiff must "treat" the defendant "as the publisher or speaker" of the harmful information at issue.
  3. The information must be "provided by another information content provider," i.e., the defendant must not be the "information content provider" of the harmful information at issue.

Ouch. (2, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498225)

The plans raise many troubling legal issues including privacy concerns, false positive filtering, and liability for failure to filter
...and loss of common-carrier status.

Re:Ouch. (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498259)

Yeah, I don't get that either. They can have the absolute best filtering software in the world, and it will all go tits up the moment the client encrypts his communications. The users will continue to swap pirated material, and AT&T will find itself on the legal hook for it.

I mean, how stupid can you get?

Re:Ouch. (2, Interesting)

jon787 (512497) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498401)

Ah but SSL/TLS can be detected and they can just block it.

Re:Ouch. (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498493)

This will render ecommerce impossible, and I'm sure that if they go to that extent, they'll block VPN and ssh, which will make a home internet connection useful only for instant messaging, viewing porn, and arguing endlessly on slashdot. ;)

Re:Ouch. (4, Funny)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498533)

what are you talking about? We don't endlessly argue on slashdot!!! Everything here is nice and polite.

Try Again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498649)

I think you meant to say, "Everything here is nice and polite, jackass."

Re:Ouch. (1, Funny)

Peter Mork (951443) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498785)

No, no, no, it isn't you insensitive clod. People on /. will argue about anything. Even whether or not they will argue about anything. Or nothing...

Re:Ouch. (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498705)

If they block encryption, they'd start losing customers in spades. Although only nerds might notice if SSH/VPNs/VNC failed to work, everyone would notice if they can't access Amazon or their bank online.

arbitrary depth tunneling (2, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498957)

But HTTP underneath SSL/TLS which happens to be tunneled inside of plain HTTP (or any other "legitmate" protocol) would still not be blocked. No matter what, to have perfect (or, I would say, even adequate) filtering, they would have to be omniscient regarding the intention behind the contents of all packets. Or just unplug everything.

How do you really detect in real time? (4, Interesting)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498997)

Real time is the KEY here. They promise to block and not to just detect.

Sure, you can detect ssh, etc, known protocals and block them.

But if today the server encripted an MP3 file with rot13 no computer would automatically detect it as an mp3. And tomarow they just do it different. Tomarrow they make a jpg out of it. Change the extention and Bob's your uncle.

An application is written that everytime it starts it downloads a plugin with todays encription standard. There is no way they could even think of keeping up without breaking things for there customers on a daily basis.

Re:Ouch. (5, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498407)

Exactly. By the time AT&T gets anywhere with filtering, BitTorrent clients will come with encryption enabled by default and will all select a random set of ports.

Is AT&T suggesting they can somehow go up against an encrypted, data-heavy connection using random ports? Or even well-known ports like 443? You can't very well just block long transfers, either. If you do that, P2P clients will be programmed to cycle connections, only transmitting one MB or such per connection before resetting.

Best to build for the capacity you sell to your users. If you can't handle what you sold, downgrade their plans, raise prices, or install new lines.

I'm not for piracy at all, but the ISPs should stay out of criminal and civil matters altogether until they have a public order from a judge instructing them otherwise.

Re:Ouch. (4, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498999)

Well, given block/chunk size in bittorrent clients, they should recover from any sporadic disconnects after 1-2 blocks are transferred, will have an increased overhead in terms of new connections, but should still work... I also have to agree that AT&T should stay out of content blocking... I know that if I hosted britney_spears.mp3, which turned out to be a commentary file, and it was blocked, I might have something to sue about... AT&T is opening a can of worms on the legitimate side alone.. I know for a fact I wouldn't use AT&T for services before, let alone now.

Re:Ouch. (3, Interesting)

roseanne (541833) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498475)

Here's the problem as I see it: AT&T knows that ISPs have to compete on service, price and network superiority. There's not too much room to "add value" to their network (i.e., offer proprietary services that work best on AT&T's network). They're betting that by adding legit content and keeping off 'pirate' content, they can create a network that not-very-expert users who want video-on-demand etc will use, and that their competitors will do this anyway to keep up.

And what they will probably do is aggressively packet-shape so that folk who encrypt traffic will see lousy transfer rates AND lobby for exemptions to common-carrier rules for copyright defense.

It doesn't make too much sense, but hey, no one expects good business from AT&T.

Encrypt everything (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498503)

They can have the absolute best filtering software in the world, and it will all go tits up the moment the client encrypts his communications
Yes, P is right. Now we should start writing free, low-strength, fast encrytion/decryption software. Nothing that requires the NSA to break, but just enough to make it economically impractical for ATT to decrypt.

Re:Encrypt everything (4, Interesting)

Phil Karn (14620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498885)

Why write low-strength encryption software when high-strength software already exists and is plenty fast? Why do people just assume that high-strength cryptography has to be unacceptably slow?

For years I've routinely encrypted as much of my communications as I can (e.g., when I control both ends of the connection) and the overhead is completely invisible.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498577)

If they can stop pirated material, they can stop child pornography. Won't someone think of the children?!

net neutrality (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498339)

Would previous attempts at net-neutrality legislation have prevented this?

Re:Ouch. (4, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498387)

As I understand it, the telcos aren't common-carriers with regards to so-called "data services" anyway, so they can perfectly well get away with this. Granted the distinction between a voice service and a data service is technologically non-existent anymore, but from a legal perspective it's still very important (as it happens, I have AT&T's Callvantage VoIP service at home ... which set of laws would apply to AT&T in the case?) That's part of the law that does need to be changed, I think.

Now, whether or not they'll have many customers when it's all over is another story. The moment my ISP starts making decisions for me about what I can and cannot download is the day I find another provider. If there aren't any other providers, then I'm going to drive to Washington, D.C. (probably none of us will be able to actually board aircraft at that point), grab Orrin Hatch and a few other select Congresspeople by their lapels and shake some sense into them.

What's amazing about this is the level of influence the media companies are able to wield, in both the government and private sectors. Honestly, they must have some part of their organization whose only job it is to dig up dirt on Congressmen and corporate CEOs. Otherwise I can't see why AT&T would just roll over on this.

Re:Ouch. (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498571)

As I understand it, the telcos aren't common-carriers with regards to so-called "data services" anyway, so they can perfectly well get away with this.

This leads me to wonder, if they don't have common-carrier status to data transmission, why hasn't anyone brought the big telcos up for allowing illegal material to go across on their data lines? Seems to me if there wasn't CC status given to data, those types of cases would be slam dunks.

Plus, if they try doing this for copyright violations, what's to keep someone from forcing at&t to follow suit for things like child porn or other illegal content? It can't be too hard to adapt one filtering system to do another task (at least, I'm sure that's how the argument will go.)

Re:Ouch. (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498903)

This leads me to wonder, if they don't have common-carrier status to data transmission, why hasn't anyone brought the big telcos up for allowing illegal material to go across on their data lines?

The same reason there isn't a giant crater where the servers running Youtube are.
All an ISP (or any content provider) is obligated to do is comply with takedown notices (either by terminating an account or passing on the notice to get the user to stop seeding a torrent).
It doesn't take more than a quick search on a torrent tracker or some other P2P program to find out whether or not something's being widely distributed and who's distributing it. This 'one size fits all' method will lead to nothing more than a long battle between ISPs and customers, likely becoming more expensive than terminating accounts and passing on takedown notices.

Loss of Common Carrier Status? Why? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498449)

Doesn't every large ISP these days already do some amount of content filtering? i.e., anti-spam?

Re:Loss of Common Carrier Status? Why? (2, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498581)

The big question is whether this filtering is just for their DSL and F2P customers, or also for the huge chunk of the backbone that they own and operate. The articles that I have read seem to suggest the latter.

Re:Loss of Common Carrier Status? Why? (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#19499021)

Doesn't every large ISP these days already do some amount of content filtering? i.e., anti-spam?
Yeah, and they're really doing a bang up job with that now aren't they.

Plus, it's not really the same thing since all you'd have to do is encrypt the data, and they'd be unable to economically filter it.

Re:Ouch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498757)

...and loss of common-carrier status.

They can't lose something they never had. ISPs never wanted to be common carriers and fought against it so they wouldn't have to open their infrastructure to competitors like common carriers must. They are classified as "information services".

Future News: The News... of the future! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498231)

Dateline: June 13th, 9:04PM

Today, a group of hackers calling themselves "The Army of the Night" have announced that they've defeated AT&Ts recently announced content filtering scheme.

That's not all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498481)

Having solved the problem of copyright in a digital world, AT&T's top management then turned their attention to other pressing world problems. "We've got a great plan for peace in the middle east," said one manager after an intense focus-group session. "We'll just take away all their guns! It's so simple it's practically foolproof."

"We've also got some ideas forming to tackle feeding the world's poor," he went on. "I don't want to give it all away just yet, as we're still working on the details. But I can tell you this: it involves giving them food."

Fairly easy to by-pass filtering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498263)

Just run some simple encryption, nothing major, just enough to scramble the data and confuse the filters. Hell, ROT13 would probably be enough to do the trick and would have no noticable impact on transfer rates...

This, like all forms of copy protection, will fail...

Re:Fairly easy to by-pass filtering (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498353)

Just run some simple encryption, nothing major, just enough to scramble the data and confuse the filters. Hell, ROT13 would probably be enough

No, you'd need to be somewhat cryptographically secure. If you just pay lip-service to the concept, you'll trip off a digital arms war between file sharing and AT&T's filter upgrades. It's better to be secure up front so that AT&T gets the idea that there's no way of enforcing these filters.

It's not that difficult to exchange symmetrical keys using an asymmetrical encryption method. Once those keys are exchanged, you can communicate freely without AT&T being able to eavesdrop. When they finally finish cracking your packets a year or two later, they'll find themselves in big trouble for having lost their common carrier status.

It'll be neat... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498275)

... when AT+T takes down an iTMS download of a purchased movie for being a copy. Which, of course, it would be. Merely one being paid for correctly.

Easily defeated (2, Insightful)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498277)

Just put everything in a passworded protected archive. Hell, I bet you could even skip the password protected part, since opening every archive that comes across the wire would be prohibitively slow.

Re:Easily defeated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498745)

They could just start dropping (or severely limiting the bandwidth of) encrypted content. Force people to go through a whitelisting process for their banking, whatever...

Re:Easily defeated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498867)

Well, right now, all the content available like that requires you to go to some crappy site to get the pass word, presumably for the add revenue. I suppose you could include a captcha in the download, an unencrypted rar with the encrypted rar and the captcha inside.

Re:Easily defeated (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498899)

Just encrypt the data stream.

In theory, even if they can decrypt, its a crime to do so. Yes, i know there are issues with it beign 'their network' and service terms, but i bet its illegal to wholsale decrypt since not all traffic is theirs since you cant personally control where your packets go along the way to their destination..

And if you use strong enough encryption it would take years to pass packets, rendering their network unusable and no customers would put up with that...

So much for my business (2, Interesting)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498279)

I had been considering switching from Comcast to AT&T as soon as DSL became available at my house... so much for that idea.

Encryption forever!

Re:So much for my business (4, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498465)

I had been considering switching from Comcast to AT&T as soon as DSL became available at my house... so much for that idea.

Talk about a choice between Giant Douchebag and Turd Sandwich...

Re:So much for my business (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498881)

It could be worse. One of his choices could have been Time-Warner instead of Comcast. I hate my new cable company...

iPhone's SDK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498285)

Ya, rly!

Re:iPhone's SDK! (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498941)

Did you ever wonder what goes through a person's mind when they make a post like this? Is it, "I'm just going to think of something random to post"? Or is it even worse -- they somehow thing their comment is appropriate to the subject at hand?

Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498287)

We need to wait for all those dinosaur top managers to retire.

Practically every business I know is managed by someone who started managing before the personal computer revolution. It surprises me, but in more than a decade they don't seem to have learned anything. They hit blindly without understanding what they are doing, or even caring what they are doing.

We are seeing in our culture HUGE disrespect for technically knowledgeable people. The wild imaginings of someone who knows nothing are considered better than the counsel of those who have learned how things work.

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (1)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498573)

I've said it before: those managers are the greatest! You can get hired to re-implement the same broken scheme time and again and get paid each time for "doing" it! :) Not that I would, of course... it would be... unethical...

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498607)

We are seeing in our culture HUGE disrespect for technically knowledgeable people. The wild imaginings of someone who knows nothing are considered better than the counsel of those who have learned how things work.

We're talking about a culturally pervasive issue, though. Although I hate to bring it into a discussion here for various obvious reasons, Al Gore's Truth movie raises this point quite significantly. We have nothing but contempt for the only people actually qualified to make decisions on a scientific basis in this country.

Frankly, I blame this on religion, which has a stranglehold on many aspects of our existence here.

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498767)

I dunno - we have similar attitudes here in Australia, but we don't have pervasive religion like you do in the U.S.

Then again.... we do have TV sport... hmm...

point retracted.

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498821)

Frankly, I blame this on religion, which has a stranglehold on many aspects of our existence here.

This may not sound right to some, but it's dead on! Especially certain religions, which seem focused on the 'fact' that their God beats all and and that makes them right and everyone else wrong. No comment on which ones.

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (2, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498891)

Especially certain religions, which seem focused on the 'fact' that their God beats all and and that makes them right and everyone else wrong. No comment on which ones.
All of them?

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498823)

It has little to do with religion other than sharing a common cause.

It's simple "ostrich" mentality. "If I stick my head in the sand, it'll all go away and I won't have to change my beliefs or routine. LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU..."

Morons. And they're giving religion a bad (worse?) name.

Re:Dinosaur Managers: Please Retire! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498743)

We need to wait for all those dinosaur top managers to retire.

Practically every business I know is managed by someone who started managing before the personal computer revolution. It surprises me, but in more than a decade they don't seem to have learned anything. They hit blindly without understanding what they are doing, or even caring what they are doing.

We are seeing in our culture HUGE disrespect for technically knowledgeable people. The wild imaginings of someone who knows nothing are considered better than the counsel of those who have learned how things work.


While I sympathize with your position, cynicism and overall view on this issue, it has nothing to do with technology.

It has been this way for countless generations. Power is not awarded based on merit. It is awarded based on wealth. Show me anyone in a position of power who has not paid their way there.

This will never change, regardless of how many revolutions we may have, it is but one sad component of the tragedy known as the human condition.

[IP address changed for this post to defeat slashdot's asinine 30 minute post flood interval.]

AT&T is NOT AT&T, it is SBC. (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498955)

AT&T is not AT&T now, because the name was sold [att.com] to an abusive west coast telephone company named SBC.

My understanding is that everything else of value in the original AT&T was sold piece-by-piece, and SBC bought mostly just the name. My understanding is that the SBC trademark was worse than useless because the company is so abusive. So, the managers bought another name.

Apparently, for $16 Billion SBC got AT&T's VOIP [businessweek.com] customers, and the AT&T name.

AT&T's VOIP customers were Sheila and Gerald Funk, who have since moved to Elbonia. Wait... That last sentence my contain an error.

So, what we are seeing is SBC mismanagement under a new name. Soon just saying the name AT&T will cause people to become upset.

Common carrier? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498311)

Not to mention loss of common carrier service.

Watch a snuff movie that came via a AT&T subscribed line? Blame them. ("Well, I knew that AT&T blocks illegal content. And I was allowed to download it. Therefore it must be legal.")

Re:Common carrier? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498855)

Aside from that rational, dont forget in theory they get held liable for any 'bad content' on their network now and open themselves up to tons of lawsuits and fines.

SSL For All My Friends! (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498333)

If Firefox and Apache both made HTTPS their default protocol instead of HTTP, AT&T wouldn't be able to invade any of our private traffic that happens to get routed over their WANs. Then they'd have only their Net Doublecharge, preferential routing between IPs paying their extortion fees, to work against us, and that gambit will likely get killed by the government that otherwise protects AT&T's resurgent monopoly.

If we act now, while we still can, before AT&T and their telco/cableco cartel shuts us down.

Re:SSL For All My Friends! (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498729)

If we act now, while we still can, before AT&T and their telco/cableco cartel shuts us down.

We're almost convinced, but I think we need a few more random bold tags before it can happen...

They needed a new use for the NSA gear (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498341)

This makes total sense, if they dont do this they are underutilizing their networking spying equipment. You need to keep that gear operating for a certain number of years in order to make the total cost of ownership values work out.

Won't work. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498355)

It won't work. If they block P2P, people will use a different port. If they search traffic for P2P, people will use encryption. If they look at traffic analysis, people will figure out how to disguise traffic patterns. And so on.

And by people, I mean that a few clever hackers will implement it and everyone will just use it (kind of like bittorrent).

Of course, they could start by blocking youtube... that'll make them really popular.

Well, the figure for losses about bootlegs I can kind of believe. After all you have to pay cash for a bootleg, and that is real money which isn't going to the copyright holder. The figure for online piracy seems like one of those bogus ones. It is only a loss if the person would otherwise have paid. I doubt that they have a good way of measuring that.

And finally, can we PLEASE get some accuracy in the titles. Everything (bar public domain) is under copyright. If they filtered out copyright content, there would be nothing left for the customers. How would they even find the public domain content without any search engine's copyrighted front (and filtered) page?

Re:Won't work. (2, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498775)

Yes. Common carrier status allows them to avoid escalating that war but as soon as they start filtering they'll lose that, and that means that they will be required to inspect (And probably retain for some period) all their customers' traffic.

So there's AT&T, forced to fight a war it can not possibly win and each time they tighten the screws they'll piss off more of their customer base. And the data retention costs will just keep going up and up. Oh yeah. They really want to open that can of worms.

Hey here's an idea, someone find the genius who came up with this idea and arrange an interview here. I bet we all submit a bunch of questions which never get answered (Kind of like the SCO interview) and the whole affair is quietly dropped shortly thereafter.

Re:Won't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498993)

Posting as AC for a reason...

If they block P2P, people will use a different port. If they search traffic for P2P, people will use encryption.


I use the beta v1.7 uTorrent client. The port is always randomized each time I run the program. It's never an issue because it get's mapped to my router via UPnP and/or NAT-PMP. Also, my encryption setting is set to "forced" and legacy connections are NOT permitted.

Resault: No problems. I can't tell the difference in performance between my settings and the default settings of uTorrent. AT&T, go fuck yourself! I'm happy as a pig in mud. Oink Oink! :o)

Time to find a new ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498361)

Wonderful, now we have to live with chilling effects as our ISPs promise to monitor every packet.

What are some good providers in the Bay Area? This rules out AT&T (formerly SBC here) and Comcast is, of course, out as well for being evil. Crap, I'm glad I'm posting this from an internet cafe.

Re:Time to find a new ISP (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498889)

Luckily, At&T customers can usually get their DSL from several different resellers.

Speakeasy is available in the bay area I beleive. There is also Earthlink, DSLExtreme and Sonic.net.

This is why we have CHOICE! (2, Interesting)

zenlessyank (748553) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498371)

When AT&T has only Hollywood Movie Companies subscribing to their internet service, they may change their mind about censoring/blocking Zero's & One's. The Almighty Dollar is what dictates any techno and when the money goes, so will the censorship.

We have choice? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498659)

Oh, right, if you're lucky you can pick between the cable company and the phone company. So the "choice" most people get around here is between AT&T or Time Warner. Now which one do you pick if you don't want to support needless censorship on behalf of the media industry?!

Re:This is why we have CHOICE! (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498703)

It's too bad that in many places there isn't much choice. Some places still only have one broadband carrier, which might be AT&T. In most places you're lucky if you have one DSL and one cable provider to choose from, and if you'd keep your landline anyhow the cable is usually quite a bit more expensive. Me, since I moved last year I have two cable providers to choose from plus DSL, which is like HEAVEN. I love being able to threaten to cancel my account and go with the other guy if they don't fix what needs fixing.

Re:This is why we have CHOICE! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498809)

When AT&T has only Hollywood Movie Companies subscribing to their internet service, they may change their mind about censoring/blocking Zero's & One's. The Almighty Dollar is what dictates any techno and when the money goes, so will the censorship.

The population of the U.S. is 300 million. The population of Slashdot 1 million. The legit movie download that can be sold in one click to a family of five vs. servicing the lone geek in his basement who soaks up bandwidth like a sponge. Tough choice.

Common carrier / safe harbor laws (1, Redundant)

Tassach (137772) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498377)

By actively filtering content, I would think that AT&T would be giving up it's legal protection as a common carrier and the safe harbor protection that status gives them under DMCA and other copyright laws. It may make the copyright cartels happy, but I think it'll be opening up a whole lot of other liability issues.

Re:Common carrier / safe harbor laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498669)

ISPs are not common carriers!

Hahaha! (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498389)

So, they're going to give up their common carrier status? I guess they want to be legally liable when child porn is distributed over their network. Can't wait to see their top execs go to prison for sex crimes.

Well (2, Interesting)

spotlight2k3 (652521) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498393)

At the very least if we all start encrypting everything we send, the overall effect will help improve net security.

Can of worms. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498397)

One could argue that if AT&T can filter copyrighted content, they can filter p0rn. When they don't, some lawsuit will argue that they should have: Why won't AT&T think of the children?

The real reason: (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498521)

AT&T has moved into pay television services and says "its interests are more closely aligned with Hollywood."
To sum up: Greed.

Lies, damned lies, and .... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498531)

Few doubt that piracy is a significant problem. The major U.S. studios lost $2.3 billion last year to online piracy and an additional $3.8 billion to bootleg DVDs, according to industry statistics.

Uh, I suspect that "few" means that "the few who have examined the industries claimed 'losses' and compared them to actual revenue".

Other sources for piracy info (1)

geek2k5 (882748) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498701)

If a number of your friends and acquaintances talk about how many thousands of songs and hundreds of movies they have downloaded, you can easily extrapolate the potential loss caused that group of people.


Now in some instances they claim to be sampling the works before buying, which is fine. I just wonder about the sample vs purchase ratio. Do they actually buy or do they just do lip service?


It would be ironic if some of the chronic downloaders ended up creating marketable materials and got filtered out because of problems. They would then have to take AT&T to court and possibly reveal that they are violating various laws concerning copyrighted material.

Just when you thought ATT couldn't dig deeper..... (1)

SatireWolf (1050450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498591)

I am beginning to have images of the ATT Deathstar and an X-Wing... wait for it.... wait for it.... Well we all know what happens next. If they couldn't possibly decide to be more bone headed about their network, here they are trying to police their network for content. The only way this is going to work is if they put that CIA/NSA installed hardware to use, and analyze EVERYTHING. So instead of respecting their customers privacy, they are going to be watching people's personal IM p0rn and getting high on people's privacy. Yes, just like those pesky Geek Squad guys! Anyone want to ponder what's going to happen to SPeakeasy now that the same company that ruined GSquad owns Speakeasy? I can't wait to hear of the privacy intrusions! I'm just glad I'm a Verizon FiOS snob (for now...)

0H N03SSS!!!11111 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498621)

I won't be able to download snakes on a plane in high def!!!! What will I do? Life as I know it is now over. Might as well just kill myself now.

Get over it people. The sooner you do, the better off your life will be.

Do we really need more laws? (4, Interesting)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498627)

Unless you believe that companies (AT&T, Google, MS) and government agencies (Big Brother) have a right to listen in on every conversation you have, review every site you visit, and examine every transaction you make, then either don't let them or stop complaining.

Instead of sending everything by postcard, send everything by envelope (encrypted), and stop expecting every lawyer, politician, company, government agency, and identity thief to respect your privacy.

Re:Do we really need more laws? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498721)

your overly simplistic view does not work. most people are flat out using email let alone encryption.

Re:Do we really need more laws? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498949)

your overly simplistic view does not work.

I dunno... I just sent a letter earlier today, and it didn't seem that the USPS had taken the day off...

most people are flat out choosing to use email...

There, fixed that first part for ya...

So I'd better make other plans (4, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498643)

to get my holiday movies from North Africa to my relatives on NewATT?

I'm guessing they're not going to like a file transfer of casablanca.mov

Time for Telecommunications Monopolies to End (3, Insightful)

BlueMikey (1112869) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498655)

If AT&T is going to start watching every single thing its users does and the users have no recourse whatsoever, I say it is time to end the monopoly that cable and wired ISPs and phone companies have in most areas and let competition reign. If I had the choice between a company that is going to spy on me and give anything they think is suspicious to the RIAA/MPAA or paying a few extra bucks to a company that will truly honor my privacy, the choice would be extremely easy.

Instead, I'm stuck with one cable company and one DSL company servicing my area. Thanks, local government.

won't someone PLEASE think of the children!? (0, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498671)

i just seen goatse.cx and it warped my fragile mind - i'm going to sue at&t for not filtering it!

thats all they are going to hear in court for the next 100000000 years if they do this.

piratebay blocked (4, Informative)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498741)

I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but when I put the url of piratebay in my browser a blocking service page came up. First time I saw anything like this. I get DSL in Chicago thru, I guess it's AT&T now...

This is all well and good if it's like a parental control thing but I'm a 50 year old paying customer and I'm not used to getting flipped off by my ISP. I suppose I should be looking over my shoulder.

Re:piratebay blocked (1)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 6 years ago | (#19499003)

It comes up fine here, and I'm on AT&T DSL (formerly Bellsouth here in Georgia). Try going through a proxy web service and see what happens. Also, check your HOSTS file to make sure that address hasn't been blacklisted, though I doubt it unless you did it yourself, or you installed any software from the DSL provider that may have done it behind your back.

Also, what exactly does the error message say? If it's a standard "403 Forbidden", "404 Not Found" or "500 Internal Server Error" then it's on TPB's end, not you or your service provider. If it's a proxy error, then chances are it's on your system (if it's filtered at the provider, you're SOL). There may or may not be a way around that, again depending on whether you installed any software as part of your DSL installation. Contrary to what the DSL providers would have you believe, you don't need any software whatsoever to connect to them, as long as you use the Ethernet port on the modem and not the USB port. The latest modems, though, are also routers (possibly filtering at that level) but you can disable the routing and have it act as a standard DSL modem; google the model number to find out how. It usually involves logging into the modem with a private IP and changing a setting, then rebooting the modem.

Re:piratebay blocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19499017)

As do I, but I still get it... this URL? : http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]
 
Maybe you have 'inherited' some software you don't know about?

AT&T shutting down the internet... (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498787)

I guess that AT&T can pull the plug on the internet right away. Since there idea is never, ever going to work in the real world. How ever did get this idea over there is almost as stupid a George Bush (the idiot president how can't even speak properly).

Re:AT&T shutting down the internet... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498975)

Combining AT&T's action with your political beliefs makes you look stupid and removes anything you say about AT&T from any rational discussion.

Does this mean anything that gets through is OK? (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498793)

So does this mean anything that makes is past their filters is OK to use how ever I want?

-ted

Retarded FUD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19498859)

If this could possibly work then everyone already had such a filter to download copyrighted material.

End of story.

AT&T (1)

bronzey214 (997574) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498917)

I'm slightly apprehensive at the AT&T brand name ever since they sold their wireless business to Cingular (forcing their former customers to eventually switch phones) and then reacquired Cingular to become AT&T again.

Absolutely ridiculous.

Awesome (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 6 years ago | (#19498947)

I was considering going with Cingular for cell phone and a laptop card. Scratch that idea.

I guess it's a tossup between Sprint and Verizon. Oh well...
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