AT&T wants to be a corporate peeping tom....

This week AT&T's most senor executive (Randall Stephenson) announced that AT&T wants to become the world's foremost peeping tom. But it's not your bedroom window they want to look into, it's your internet traffic. So, if you use their cables and wires to connect to all the great information (bank accounts, company intranet, your benefits page, your tax file, monitoring your credit file -- all the great stuff out there that's very private to you) then they have the right to see what you're doing.

As explained by Mr. Stephenson at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, AT&T wants to protect pirated material - movies, books, pictures, cartoons, TV shows, articles, etc. - all the stuff that has a copyright.

He didn't say the following, but what he's really saying is AT&T has a corporate responsibility to "lurk", to look over your shoulder, because copyrighted material is being illegally used on the internet - and if people would just quit looking at it, then the world would come together, hold hands, and sing songs of peace and joy. I guess it's easier to go after the "user" rather than the pirate (since it's worked so well in the war on drugs).

First of all, I agree with one point, there is lots of copyright infringement out there, but using Big Brother tactics is not exactly the right move. And AT&T as guardian of all things creative justs does not sound right. But with all things internet, make up your own mind - here are a couple links that provide additional information

1 comment:

  1. Becoming the policeman has its drawbacks. While I understand the need to reduce piracy (especially since the broadcast networks and studios can blackmail AT&T into doing so, it is a two-edged sword. Currently the FCC has ruled that the network carriers (such as AT&T) cannot be held liable for material sent over their network that violates copyright law. That is, the FCC has stated that it does not expect the carrier to be a policeman.

    However, if AT&T does start to police copyright violations and they happen to miss one, then they have set themselves up so that they can be held liable--because they took it upon themselves to do so.

    Second, if they take it upon themselves to "look at private stuff," then they then have an obligation to protect privacy. If one of their reviewers releases a piece of private information (say a social security number, bank account number, or credit card number) they could incur liability because they have now "handled" the data instead of simply passing it along.

    Something tells me AT&T will not actually incur this additional liability without getting them legislation to protect themselves first. It hasn't been thought through very well.

    Walter W. Casey, Ph.D.


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