ISPs To Start Policing The Net More Actively At Government's, RIAA's Urging

Brad Chacos

Why would Big Brother bother watching you if he can get his best buddies to keep tabs on your activities for him? While a recent announcement that eight major ISPs would voluntarily implement measures to combat cybersecurity threats seems relatively benign enough (and probably even downright helpful), those same ISPs will start policing their pipes another way by July 12; by then, most Internet service providers are becoming a copyright rent-a-cops for the RIAA and MPAA. What ever happened to the dumb tubes idea?

We've already covered the ISPs' upcoming "graduated response" copyright policy, complete with possible education seminars, throttled surfing speeds, and any other  nebulous "measures that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter." Here's the original post if you missed it the first time around. Last week, RIAA boss Cary Sherman said that the enforcement policy -- which major providers like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have voluntarily agreed to implement -- will start running full throttle (Ha! Get it?) by July 12.

By the way, the White House called the ISP-content creator union a "a positive step and consistent with our strategy of encouraging voluntary efforts to strengthen online intellectual property enforcement and with our broader Internet policy principles, emphasizing privacy, free speech, competition and due process."

In somewhat related news, Computerworld reported yesterday that eight major ISPs -- including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile and Verizon Communications -- have agreed to start another voluntary monitoring program; policing their networks for nasties like botnet activity, domain name fraud and route hijacking. The program came at the urging of the FCC, which also recommended specific actions for the ISPs.

Unlike the copyright cop deal, the FCC-urged program won't result in possible disconnection; instead, the ISPs have pledged to implement DNSSEC and educate, inform and assist subscribers who have been tricked into a botnet.

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