Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / January 23rd, 2008

Boo To Internet Filtering!

AT&T head honcho Randall Stephenson told a conference at the World Economic Forum that his company is looking in to filtering Internet traffic.  Specifically they’re keen on targeting peer to peer file sharing networks to stop illegal pirating of software and entertainment. 

Now lets be real.  This has nothing to do with AT&T wanting to help protect the music industry or stop software pirates.  No, this is obviously a move to keep their own costs down by drastically reducing traffic on their lines.  Less traffic equals less cost to them which in turn equals more money in their pocket.  File Sharing, illegal or otherwise, is a huge bandwidth drain.

I have no problem with capitalism, and doing things to increase profits, but don’t pass it off as something it isn’t.  I mean if they really were out to stop illegal activity, I still think this is the wrong approach.  They will invariably halt many legitimate traffic streams in the process, and hamper new ideas and technologies built along the same technologies models pirates exploit. 

It’s like the automakers putting restrictions on your engine performance so you can’t speed.  Oh, wait…they do that.  Then it’s like louisville slugger making all of their bats soft so you can’t use it as a weapon, or home depot discontinuing spray paint so people can’t inhale the stuff.  I’m sure I can come up with more poor analogies here…gimme a sec.

OK, it’s like that scene in iRobot where the robots don’t let you leave your house so you can’t do harm to yourself or others.  OK, that’s a stretch…I know it, but it sets a bad precedent.  But my point is you can’t let the actions of the few create limits for the masses.  It’s just plain wrong.