US Internet providers start spy program to stop file-sharing

February 27th, 2013

Published on Russia Today RT, February 25, 2013.

Starting this week, Internet Service Providers will start throttling connection speeds for customers alleged to be pirating copyright-protected materials.

Months after a controversial “six-strike” program was slated to be rolled out by the biggest ISPs in the United States, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) confirmed on Monday that the initiative has gone live.  

The program, critiqued by Internet freedom activists and privacy advocates alike, will let ISPs take six steps of escalating severity in handling incidents where customers are believed to be illegally sharing material. Through the “graduate response” approach, suspected copyright criminals could be issued a series of warnings for illegally downloading protected content.

With the first strike caught by the CAS, a customer could be issued a warning. As strikes increase, however, “mitigation measures,” connection speed throttling and termination of service are all possible options … //

… Previously, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other ISPs have signed onto the program, which was last scheduled to start in July 2012. Gigi Sohn, president of digital rights group Public Knowledge, told Wired last year that originally ISPs hoped to roll out the program earlier, but major protests against other restrictive Web policies, including attempts to pass certain legislation, left them to wait until the dust settled.

–“SOPA and PIPA definitely had an impact. There was some concern, if they moved ahead too quickly, public opinion would be so raw, this would be caught in the whirlwind of bad PR,” Sohn told Wired.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that the official CSI six-strikes website lets users learn more about the history of copyright, but does so by re-directing them to a page managed by the Copyright Alliance — the same group that advocated heavily for last year’s failed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

When the six-strikes program was first introduced, the White House issued an official statement saying it should “have a significant impact on reducing online piracy.”
(full text).

Related Links:

Kim Dotcom wants to encrypt half of the internet to end government surveillance (FULL RT INTERVIEW), on Russia Today RT, January 25, 2013;

Copyright terror: Man sentenced to 15 years in jail for selling 6 counterfeit discs, on Russia Today RT, November 14, 2012;

‘Impartial expert’ behind new Web copyright rules lobbied for music industry, on Russia Today RT, October 23, 2012;

ISPs to start legally spying on Internet traffic, on Russia Today RT, October 10, 2012;

Justice department calls Megaupload case a success despite catastrophic flaws, on Russia Today RT, October 05, 2012;

Internet providers pull the plug on downloaders, on Russia Today RT, July 08, 2011.

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