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Will AT&T Start Filtering Your Connection? 213

We have another essay from Bennett Haselton for you to peruse. "Last week's coverage of AT&T's newly announced "anti-piracy initiative" mostly downplayed the key part of AT&T's proposal, which is filtering what their end users can access in the first place, not finding pirates or suing them after the fact. Friday's Associated Press article, which was reprinted on many news sites with headlines like "AT&T to Help Hollywood Track Down Internet Pirates" and "AT&T to ID Offshore Web Pirates", actually said only that "the effort is primarily aimed at pirates who set up operations in other countries" -- and since you can't really "aim" at pirates in Russia and China with anything except missiles, the statement suggests not identifying pirates or tracking them down, but pre-emptively blocking people from connecting to their servers. Only the Red Herring nailed it with their article title, "AT&T to Block Pirated Content"." Follow the magical URL to read the rest of Bennett's words on the matter.

I think this is a crucial distinction, because efforts to filter end users' connections (as opposed to making them pay consequences for their actions after the fact) have always been controversial, even when the content is illegal. The Center for Democracy and Technology successfully overturned a Pennsylvania law that required ISPs to block overseas child pornography sites, partly on the grounds that the filtering included many third-party Web sites as collateral damage. I've argued that a similar private-sector initiative called Canada Cleanfeed, where Canadian ISPs attempt to block child pornography Web sites, would do more harm than good. On the other hand, nobody's fighting very hard for the cause of child pornography downloaders who were caught and arrested. Web sites get sued and shut down all the time, but it was bigger news when Canadian ISP Telus blocked the Web site of a Telus labor union for three days. So it's a big deal whether we're talking about "pre-emptive" filtering, or fighting piracy "reactively" by going after violators.

AT&T Senior VP James Cicconi said in e-mail that "discussion about what the technology will or won't do is premature until we can invent it", but most of the hints so far have been that the anti-piracy technology will be "pre-emptive", i.e. filtering users' connections. Cicconi said on a conference panel that AT&T has to spend billions on network maintenance to carry illegal pirated traffic -- which they probably couldn't recoup by suing people, so the only way to prevent that would be to block it. And Cicconi has referred to the technology several times as a "network-based solution" -- but what else could that mean, except filtering?

So let's assume that's what's on the horizon. Interestingly, Cicconi said that AT&T did not plan to block actual Web sites. However, he said in e-mail, "If one could, with a high degree of certainty, spot and isolate illegal traffic from an offshore site, would you not think the copyright holders would have a reasonable argument for a court order to block that traffic (as opposed to the site itself)?" Presumably this could refer to a Web page with an index of links to BitTorrent files -- so they'd be willing to block the BitTorrent links, but not the Web page? But from that point of view, why not just block Web sites too? If an overseas webpage has a list of links to pirated content, and that content is served over http from the same Web server, wouldn't they want to block it?

But I doubt this would stem much piracy in the long run, because connection filtering to fight piracy became more commonplace, then the next generation of p2p file-trading programs would all just have circumvention capabilities built into them, that let you route your connection through a friend at an unfiltered ISP. You're on AT&T, you upload a file to your friend on Verizon which earns you some "credits" with his node in the p2p network, and instead of redeeming those credits to download a file from him, you use his node as a proxy to download a file indirectly from a site in Russia that AT&T is blocking you from accessing. Advanced users can do this already with tools like Virtual Private Networks and Tor, and some tweaks in a p2p program would just bring it within the range of the casual user.

On the other hand, if AT&T starts filtering traffic, it could set a bad precedent that any time a party in a legal proceeding wants a site declared "illegal", they can demand that AT&T (or other ISPs) block the site. It could be a site libeling a person, or a site hosting a decryption tool that breaks some company's poorly-designed code, or pretty much anything that some powerful person wanted to go away. Meanwhile, if an AT&T customer did get accused of downloading pirated content, now they could invoke the "AT&T didn't stop me" defense -- they thought that AT&T was filtering illegal content, and if they could get to it, then that meant it was legal! In both cases the problem comes from someone using the argument that once AT&T started doing any filtering at all, they should have gone further.

So I would watch the situation closely, even if you're not an AT&T user, and don't assume the situation will take care of itself. Cicconi said, "If a company like ours does dumb things and upsets our customers, we will lose them to someone else," which is something I'm skeptical of whenever I hear it used to defend various draconian anti-spam measures, but in this case I think it's even less applicable. When you're talking about spam filters, at least they always bring some benefit to the user (less spam), and the question is whether the free market weighs those benefits properly against the costs (more lost mail). On the other hand, if an ISP filters the user's connection, that brings no benefit to the user, and in a truly efficient market, all customers of such an ISP would just switch to an unfiltered one -- if that doesn't happen, it simply means the market in that case is not efficient. Is your ISP filtering your connection right now? Probably not, but how could you tell if they were? Right now we assume that ISPs don't filter connections because generally it's "just not done" (except when it is). In a few years we might not be so sure.

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Will AT&T Start Filtering Your Connection?

Comments Filter:
  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:03PM (#19581359)
    • Just dismantle the damn internet, that's where they're going with all this.

      Tie the tubes!
    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )
      Heh, or another simple one:

      "No, of course not because I am never going to use them."

      I used to work for them, and wouldn't willingly let anybody that works there bag my groceries, let alone control anything critical.

      (No offense to you grocery-bagging slashdotters.)
  • FP! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:03PM (#19581361)
    I had the first post, but those ATT bastards filtered it!

    These are MY letters!
    I didn't copy them!
    Damn it...
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
      These are MY letters!
      I didn't copy them!
      Damn it...

      The earliest Roman scholars would have something to say about that.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:04PM (#19581393) Journal
    Now, when I download something, I know it must be fully legal to download thanks to my ever so helpful AT&T DSL connection filtering out all those nasty pirates! Thanks guys! I'll be sure to forward any legal notices I receive on to you!
  • Dumb question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:04PM (#19581399)
    If AT&T does any filtering of the content (even if it is simply to block ports), haven't they then lost their common carrier status? Could they then be liable for content transferred on their network, including illegal materials?
    • Of course not (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:14PM (#19581595) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure they have a few senators in their back pocket. Rules like that don't apply to huge corporations.
      • You've hit the nail on the head.
      • Re:Of course not (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Synchis ( 191050 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:56PM (#19582415) Homepage Journal
        Ahh, but thats a catch-22. That rule was pushed into the DMCA BY big corporations FOR big corporations. And so far, I've seen it used extensively by big corporations as a defense (see Viacom vs. YouTube).

        To say that rules like this don't apply to big corporations is simply not accurate. And while it sometimes seems like big corporations are terribly evil and can get away with anything... the laws often *DO* prevail. They can't pick and choose which laws apply to them no matter how many senators they have in their pockets. This debate is *very* public, so its not like it can slip through the cracks. AT&T will have to duke this one out on their own I suspect.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by grahamsz ( 150076 )
          Do you really expect that they can't have the rules changed to say that a common carrier can filter illegal content?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gstoddart ( 321705 )

            Do you really expect that they can't have the rules changed to say that a common carrier can filter illegal content?

            Then comes the question ... must they filter all illegal content? If you are allowed to filter P2P stuff and not lose your common carrier, what about spam, death threats, goatse, and kiddie porn?

            The whole reason they have common carrier status is so they can't be held accountable for what people transmit over their wires. Selectively blocking stuff opens up the door to force them to block al

    • Re:Dumb question... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Control Group ( 105494 ) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:29PM (#19581865) Homepage
      AT&T, the ISP, is not a common carrier, they are an "information service."

      AT&T, the phone company, is a common carrier.
      • So, if you have one bill to pay to AT&T for both
        common carrier land line, and also for information
        service ISP, does that mean that AT&T is really
        two separate legal companies?

        And since both are providing signal over the
        same copper pair, which of those two AT&T is
        paying the other to carry bandwidth?

        AT&T can't have it both ways legally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And they also lose the government subsidies funded by our tax.
      Next year same time, i expect a class action suit filed against AT&T, which they will settle and continue going on.
      The TOR proxy gives us a better option.
    • Re:Dumb question... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:08PM (#19583717) Journal

      haven't they then lost their common carrier status?
      They don't have common carrier status for the internet service they provide over DSL. They do, however still have third-party immunity from copyright violations, due to the DMCA.
  • Filtering by type (Score:5, Interesting)

    by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:04PM (#19581401) Homepage Journal
    My guess is that they will use type of traffic, destination and statistics (filenames, sizes, media types) to catch excessive users. This is similar to how most spamblockers seem to work, or even, Slashdot's moderation system. While in theory I'm against it, in reality, it means that AT&T spends less effort to support the 5% of users who are heavy users of illegal traffic. It's a smart business decision. I for one will take my service provider dollars elsewhere however.
    • Is it really 5%?

      Here in Argentina lots of people got broadband as soon as it was available, and I think one of the main reasons was the possibility of downloading music and movies (illegally of course, we hardly have any legal downloadable content offerings and CDs and DVDs have a very high price compared with the average income). That's the reason I don't think ISPs can start blocking illegal traffic... it'd remove one of the main reasons driving demand.

      Of course there's people that occasionally turn on e-
      • I kinda agree with this poster. ISP's are kinda like drug dealers with a side business to act as a front. Broadband is used by a LOT of people for things that are technically illegal. Personally I do have a reason for broadband for legal stuff (namely VOIP, online game ping times, and the occasional Linux distro download), but for many people, the only reason to get broadband instead of dialup is for grabbing "illegal" content. An ISP starting to filter that is like if that little grocery store that mak
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      I'm not a movie pirate. That said, I suspect my activity would set off all sorts of red flags---serving an open source OS distribution (MkLinux) and people downloading ISOs from my FTP server, downloading torrents of Ubuntu ISOs from other people (two different versions in a single weekend), etc. Even if it didn't set off red flags, though, I'd still probably feel the effects.

      For example, I assume that this content filtering would be implemented through something like a mandatory web proxy. That transl

    • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *

      it means that AT&T spends less effort to support the 5% of users who actually use what they're paying for.
      There, fixed it for you. If we aren't paying for the connection they're advertising, they should stop advertising it as such...
  • We may get our ability to legally backup and/or convert movies and music back...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No. That makes you a pirate. You will watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and you will like it, plebe.
      • Crucial correction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:50PM (#19582299)
        You will watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and you will like it, plebe

        You will watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and you will pay for it every single time, plebe
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )
        Then I'd rather be a pirate. Like my grandpa said, better to die in your boots than on your knees. And no, he didn't forget the "to live" in the knee part. Because living is only a temporary state when you're on your knees, not dependent on you yourself anymore. The main difference is that you can finally do nothing but just beg, because you're fully at the mercy of the other one, living or dying as he sees fit.

        Liberty or death. Might as well be the battle cry of the next civil war again. I mean, it has som
        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
          Best description of the problem ever. Kudos to your granddad, a wise man.

          As to another thought in this thread... yes, what about backups? Some people do backups to online storage sites. If you thus back up your *legally ripped* copies of this "protected content" -- is that now blockable?? What about when you go to download YOUR OWN BACKUPS??

    • by Khaed ( 544779 )
      No, you won't.

      Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA, said once that if you want a backup of a movie you should buy two. The MPAA and RIAA both want to maximize revenue for their member companies. MPAA companies tried disposable, few-view discs, a while ago. Neither company will concede anything that could cost them a dime. These are people who would, to use an old phrase, steal the pennies from a dead man's eyes. I don't usually like the "X corporation is evil!" or "Y company is satan!" type discussions on
  • by DarthTeufel ( 751532 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:05PM (#19581419)
    Headline - "AT&T has Turned on Its Anti-Pirating Program blocking webpages"

    Headline (30 mins laters) - "Hackers have found a way to circumvent AT&T's Multi-million dollar anti-pirating program"
  • by ChrisMounce ( 1096567 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:05PM (#19581421)
    Misread it as "anti-privacy initiative".
  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:06PM (#19581449)
    Curious how finely tuned such a filter would be. Does it go by files size? I upload 30-50gigs of data a month to my website to share with other people in the chess community. The 6men egtb dataset is 1.5 TB, so I distribute pieces at a time via my site.

    Will I be filtered because it sees a 700meg file being transfered? What about ISO's? Will it assume and iso is a pirated CD, when in reality it's a Linux distro?

    Definitely a complex problem.

    • it will have to be more complex than that, unless they're not trying to block P2P. that would only work for stuff like http and ftp, and i imagine most of the "problem" is with p2p.
    • You upload chess? You sick bastard think of the children... you're boring.
      • You upload chess? You sick bastard think of the children... you're boring.

        lol, well it's actually endgame tablebases (database of move to mate for all permutations of pieces 1-6 in the endgame). Fun stuff if you're into Chess, or an AI researcher. The set use to be hosted on Dr. Hyatt's ftp server but it died a couple years ago, and a source for the material kinda vanished till this project started up here [] which uses emule (p2p) for distributing the dataset. To help the community and since I barely use

        • I am actually into chess, thanks for seeing my post for what it is, a joke, I have a friend as well who has some super score that I never pay attention to when she tells me, something about it being nearly 2000 or something I don't know. I'm not a professional, just play it for fun.
  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:08PM (#19581493)
    I guess that $9.95/mo. DSL does have some strings attached to it...
  • It's a good thing I can filter out who my ISP is. For now.
  • So in the event that ATT mistakenly blocks, say, a competing VoIP service ( ATT do something like this? Perish the thought ), what recourse does the consumer have when they are an effective monopoly in the area?

    Answer: They don't. Color me pessimistic, but I can only view this as a very bad thing. I had already sworn off ATT for anything beyond 911, but given how prevelant they are I understand I don't have much of a choice: My traffic will cross their networks at some point.
  • Compensated (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:16PM (#19581621)
    "jams the network in ways we're not compensated for. He said AT&T is spending about $18 billion on network maintenance, a significant chunk of which is required just to keep up with tremendous growth of traffic on its backbone."

    They were compensated.

    The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal

    New investigative ebook offers micro-history of Verizon, SBC, Qwest, and BellSouth's (the Bell companies) fiber optic broadband promises and the consequence harms to America's economic growth because they never delivered and kept most of the money, about $200 billion.

    This is one of the largest scandals in American history. America is 16th in the world in broadband and the US DSL current offerings are 100 times slower than other countries such has Japan and Korea. How did we go from Number 1 in the web to 16th in broadband and falling?

    Starting in the early 1990's, with a push from the Clinton-Gore Administration's "Information Superhighway", every Bell company -- SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest -- made commitments to rewire America, state by state. Fiber optic wires would replace the 100-year old copper wiring. The push caused techno-frenzy of major proportions. By 2006, 86 million households should have had a service capable of 45 Mbps in both directions, (to and from the customer) could handle over 500 channels of high quality video and be deployed in rural, urban and suburban areas equally. And these networks were open to ALL competition.

    In order to pay for these upgrades, in state after state, the public service commissions and state legislatures acquiesced to the Bells' promises by removing the constraints on the Bells' profits as well as gave other financial perks. They were able to print money -- billions of dollars per state -- all collected in the form of higher phone rates and tax perks. (Note: each state is different.)

    * ADSL is not what was promised and paid for. It goes over the old copper wiring, can't achieve the speed, has problems in rural areas and is mostly one-way.
    * 0% of the Bell companies' customers have 45 Mbps residential services.

    The fiber optic infrastructure you paid for was never delivered. 11 []
    • There's no reason (aside from good old fashioned greed) that the U.S. should have aging, filtered, asynchronous, and broken Internet access almost everywhere.
    • Let's see, when the promise was made there was GTE, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, QWEST, and Ameritech. Today SBC, Bell South, and AT&T merged to become AT&T. GTE and Bell Atlantic merged to become Verizon. MCI is owned by Verizon. So it is now just Qwest, AT&T, and Verizon. I have to admit I prefer Verizon over GTE. Before they merged GTE in Richmond Indiana offered very little in features. It was after they merged to become Verizon that several changes were made.

      Insight Broadband offers 10
  • What the hell? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:16PM (#19581623) Homepage
    "that AT&T has to spend billions on network maintenance to carry illegal pirated traffic -- which they probably couldn't recoup by suing people"

    Yeah and you also have to spend billions maintaining a network so that morons can blather on about inanities! That's what being a telco with common carrier status is all about! You're supposed to recap your expenses with a user fee structure, while being completely disinterested in the nature of the transmitted content, you dumbass! If you don't know that then obviously you're the wrong man for the job!
    • by niceone ( 992278 ) *
      Yeah and you also have to spend billions maintaining a network so that morons can blather on about inanities!

      Hey, I'm blathering on about important stuff you insensitive clod!
  • The obvious solution in many cases that you don't like a vendor's policy is to change vendors, however, I know that my local cable ISP uses ATT for their internet connections. Several other ISP's with wireless or other highspeed internet do to. Does this mean I could be filtered? Or only people that are direct customers of ATT? This really scares me coming from a company that runs/owns so many internet backbone links..
  • Trained monkeys (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:22PM (#19581757)
    This is because the press has been turned into a pack of trained monkeys who repeat whatever pablum the corporations inject into the wire services without engaging in any critical analysis. In government matters, they have just been converted into an outsourced extension of Minitrue.
    • Re:Trained monkeys (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:11PM (#19582697)
      Makes sense, doesn't it?

      The masses want cheap newspapers. They usually don't care about content, they care about their funnies not costing more than 50 cents. And that's quite possible, with companies paying insane amounts of cash for ads.

      Here, it is already very blatantly so that companies (banks and car manufacturers, usually), "buy" newspapers. Indirectly. By buying double page ads, often twice or thrice per paper. I once had the chance to ask a higher up at a local bank why the heck they do that. I mean, there can't be any advertising value in doing a double-full page ad twice in the same newspaper.

      Answer: "Well, we got a security breach and they know about it, and we don't want them to report it".

      He didn't even try to hide it! I mean, here I am, some tech goon and he just says that as if it's normal everyday business to bribe newspapers to suppress some news. I was rather ... stunned.

      And soon working somewhere else.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:28PM (#19581841) Homepage Journal
    It works that way. I know, i live in turkey. so smarten up and act before its too late.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      First they came for the child porn, but I did not speak up because I'm not a pedophile.
      Then they came for the w@r3z, but I did not speak up because I'm not 1337.
      Then they came for the pirates, but I did not speak up because I don't download movies on AT&T's network.
      Then they came for my free speech, but nobody could speak for me.
    • based on where you say you are? and what you say that place is like?

      shouldn't your post have been made AC via a anonymous proxy?
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:34PM (#19581987) Homepage Journal
    But my iPhone let's me browse all I want and you can't do anything about it because my plan is through... crap.
  • It seems to me they are moving from Common Carrier to something else, definitely *not* agnostic about what's going over their wire.

    This is to be expected though because *everyone* who has some kind of legislative play in Washington wants to make sure the Internet is a one-way sh!t pipe into the American home. The policy wonks want it too because they can't keep the insanely talented black-hats out of their networks. The third strike is that a two-way Internet is too Democratic for all governments.

    In today
    • Washington wants to make sure the Internet is a one-way sh!t pipe into the American home

      And when the day comes that they realize that dream, I'll be firing up a BBS with a bank of good-old 56k modems. "One-way" can go fuck itself. To poorly paraphrase some founding father or another and misquote Microsoft's asinine PR schmucks, "Welcome to the social, bitches."
  • I would imagine that if this thing becomes common we might see distributed peer to peer web infrastructure get more popular. Freenet is the best example, although freenet is notoriously slow.
  • Further down the page there's one of the usual articles lambasting China for its internet firewall. Now I see the Americans have learnt from the Chinese and want to do it as well.
  • by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:44PM (#19582207)
    That's a shock. They've been crying for years that people don't use their internet connections in the same manner as the telephone. Pay us a bunch of money and then barely use the service so we can over sell our capacity, which won't become apparrent until there is an natural disaster and the networks get clogged.

    "Somebody running a server in their basement on our network and uploading illegal copies movies raises the costs for everybody else and jams the network in ways we're not compensated for,"

    Uhh bullshit. We pay for the connection, we get to use the connection. If you don't like that quit selling us "Unlimited" Service and then crying when we actually use it as such.

    It would be funny to have an national protest by uploading, legal things of course, all over the world just to see how badly we could cripple the internet. Say you entire photo library to your favorite photo site, or a nice modest ten gig transfer through chat programs such as Skype, or a few hundred emails with a files attached to them to everyone you know. Just for 24 hours or so and watch all this "unlimited" bandwidth grind the system to a hault.

    As a follow up trick start up few hundred class-action lawsuits for fraudulent buisness practices and false advertisment.

  • This plan has all the indicators of federal backing. Why would AT&T spend billions of dollars in blocking technology when what they really want are more Internet users, not less? Illegal mp3 downloading means more people signing up for broadband. They're getting some federal money or something for this.

    I predict AT&T's first step will be to block BitTorrent sites like Pirate Bay. It's frightfully easy for them to do and they'll prepare a press release in conjunction with the State Department or som
  • And it sucks, basically they are filtering out P2P by killing your upload if you are connected to more than 2 or 3 peers.
  • Don't you just wish you had an account with ATT?

    So you could cancel it.
    • Oh I'll do more than that!
      I will create an account with AT&T, cancel it, and then smash all my computers in front of their corporate headquarters!
      That will show those Cyberpunks...
    • I have one. I've been searching for a decent ISP for a while now, and I can't find one. I'm in the St. Louis area, so if you know of a good one with service here, I'd be happy to switch.

      Alternatively, I've been thinking of meeting with the board of my HOA and suggesting we all chip in for a T3. (200+ units in the HOA, so a T3 would be just about right, and even downright affordable if everyone was aboard.)
  • ...who get impacted by arbitrary port filtering.

    I'm not an AT&T customer. But my experience with Shaw is a good example of how bad decisions yield bad implemenetations that mess people up.

    I am a small business user that hosted all email etc on site out of my home office. Mail started bouncing outbound. I still received mail, but I couldn't send it. After talking with various target sites, and man you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get to talk to a person on the inside of i.e. Yahoo!, I went thro
    • You are lucky!

      I run a small business at home. Programming services.

      I use Rogers as my ISP. My other choice is Bell Sympatico.

      But Bell isn't sympathetic at all. Bell blocks port 25 outbound AND INBOUND. No mail for me, unless I use a domain. Maybe they do other port blocking -- I don't know. Upgrading to a "business account" doesn't solve the issue either. I would have to purchase an account with a mail redirector.

      Rogers only blocks port 25 outbound. Started a couple of years ago, with no warni
  • He said AT&T is spending about $18 billion on network maintenance, a significant chunk of which is required just to keep up with tremendous growth of traffic on its backbone. "And a sizable chunk is traffic that is illegal," he said.

    Verizon said it expects to invest $18.0 billion in net capital from 2004 through 2010 in deploying the nation's largest network that brings the broadband capacity of fiber optics all the way to customers' homes and businesses. []
  • Now it makes sense. Since AT&T was unable to fulfill the "broadband for everyone" plan, we simply eliminate the reason for broadband. I mean, what do you need 10mbit for if there's nothing to push through the cable?

    Not really dumb...
  • by The Ultimate Fartkno ( 756456 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:14PM (#19582755)
    "Somebody running a server in their basement on our network and uploading illegal copies movies raises the costs for everybody else and jams the network in ways we're not compensated for," said Mr. Cicconi..."

    Right, because pirate bytes are... bigger? I guess they're all wearing hats and carrying parrots or something.
    • No, it's because all those movies are rated R...

      wait for it... wait for it...

      And pirates send more bytes because they rate them ARRRRRRRRRRR!

      (Kill me now. I deserve it.)
  • It's about control. Control of what you can and cannot do online. First they may start filtering out movies and music, but when do they start filtering out thoughts and ideas or anything else that goes against the mainstream. Before we know it, we have another Great Firewall of China, except on a much wider scale.

    Sure encryption helps, but they will simply throttle bandwidth for encrypted channels. Who's going to hold these carriers accountable. Oh your Tor isn't working? Must be a problem with the program,
    • Quite true. Human nature just loves to control things. This is about power. This about total control of what they can give us. Right now they can dictate to us a lot of things through television and radio. The TV news media is completely bullshit and corporate driven. It's a one way street of entertainment from the top down, and that is what they want to do with the internet. They want to turn it into a TV, because that is the only profit model they have been able to figure out.They cant see how to make lar
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      I've mentioned this before... given the political climate, the day is coming when the only trustworthy data route (ie. the only way you know your email won't be snooped/blocked) will be the old-fashioned modem and dialup BBS, where the only party you are required to trust is the sysop (and whether his phone lines are tapped), and where no one other than said sysop can filter your words, ideas, content, and whatever other "undesirable" behaviour you may exhibit.

      And as phone lines continue to deteriorate (may
  • Pirates will just serve pirated content from behind proxy IP#s they switch to keep ahead of any filtering on IP# by AT&T. They will just see their operating costs increase negligibly, while creating a new market for proxy services.

    Regular users will be spied on by AT&T, and their content selection determined by AT&T. An AT&T that is now practically a monopoly again (one of a duopoly with Verizon), and gearing up to duopolize all multimedia delivery including "Internet", phone and video.

  • l7-filter (Score:4, Informative)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:48PM (#19583363) Homepage
    To the posters wondering how they can do it, look at l7-filter for iptables []. Now, this is what you can do - fairly effectively people are reporting - to filter p2p with a Linux router. (There's also ipp2p [] for Linux, but that's judged only partially effective.) You can bet that what open source can do, AT&T's Ciscos can do too. Doing that level of inspection is going to add quite a computational load, on the one hand. On the other hand, blocking the p2p stuff will take a huge load off of the pipes.

    Is the l7-filter's approach something that p2p software's next generation can get around? Maybe, but it won't be as simple as port hopping. There will always be ways to get a few files though, but the question is whether large-scale p2p operations will remain viable in a context of widespread packet filtering.
  • Spam? (Score:2, Funny)

    Can't they start by filtering the spam? Once they've figured that out, then they can move onto a more complex target.
  • Geeks will find a way get out from under providers like AT&T. It'll be something like self-discovering mesh networks over wifi, packet radio or some other type of hobby system that will grow until it becomes a carrier and this nonsense will start all over again. But, until then, it'll be a wide open frontier.

    Sometimes I think retardedness like this is a good thing because it pushes geeks to start looking around for an alternative. Or, if none exists, developing one.

  • by bizitch ( 546406 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:26PM (#19584033) Homepage
    So -

    1) If I share an illegal copy of a movie using an encrypted p2p service
    2) AT&T somehow busts me (i.e. they decrypt and analyze my shit at layer 7)
    3) I can sue their asses for violating DMCA or whatever right?
  • a month doesnt pass before at and t or whatever its name tries to pull a crap with the internet that will damage the people and give them a monopoly. what kind of sobs were elected to the board last time i am really curious. they should have opened up auditions to gather every villain from 4 corners of the world.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.