Verizon says it has no plans to filter Internet, looks like an angel compared to AT&T (Updated)

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It’s been the “in” thing to do to bash Verizon and its related companies, including Verizon Wireless, since I’ve been around, but its latest stance may sway some of our opinions of it. You know how AT&T wants to filter our Internet traffic in the name of fighting piracy? Well Verizon wants nothing to do with that.

Verizon, holy smokes, is actually looking out for its customers’ interests.

An executive VP told the Bits Blog that Verizon doesn’t want to get into the filtering game for many reasons. One is historical—phone companies have never been held liable for what people say over its lines, so why should they now be held accountable for what people do over its lines? And what if one day the Religious Right (or any other group) wants laws passed banned Internet pornography, online gambling or any other fun activities? Is it Verizon’s job to sniff those packets, too?

There’s also a bit of self-interest involved. What if Verizon signs up with this filtering nonsense then [accidentally] fails to filter the latest RBD album from a BitTorrent tracker? Are there liable for that now, where as in the past they could have claimed, “We don’t know what’s going on with out network.”

Amazing. AT&T has managed to make Verizon actually look good. I though I’d never see the day.

UPDATE~! An AT&T spokesperson, Brad Mays, provided me, and by extension all of you, with a little bit of AT&T “perspective”. You know where to find it.

Fair protection of intellectual property and copyright is critical to continued innovation—be it from large media companies, smaller content providers, or individual artists and entrepreneurs. We have said categorically that we do not intend to be an enforcement agent or a policeman for content transported on our network. In addition, we want to set the record straight that we have not said we are going to filter, and in fact, there is no technology solution available at this time. What we have said is that we are working with some in the content industry on the very real issue of piracy that has raised costs for all Internet users. It is our hope that this relationship leads to encouraging the legal downloads of movies, TV shows, and other entertainment and content.

Fair enough, AT&T, but the perception is already there, rightly or wrongly, that you want to read our e-mails and IMs. (Never mind that whole NSA thing.) You should’ve known that those who use the Internet as regularly as we do (the “blogosphere” in the vernacular) would knee-jerk react to any hint of snooping on our connections.

Verizon Rejects Hollywood’s Call to Aid Piracy Fight [Bits New York Times Blog]

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