It might be. According to a commentary published by CNN, there is a new alliance among America's biggest ISPs and media giants such as Disney, Sony and Fox, which is to go into effect this month. The effort, dubbed the Center for Copyright Information, hopes to combat the illegal downloading and sharing of movies and music by monitoring it at the source - your computer.
The plan was to begin quetly monitoring users' computers for copyright violations on July 1st. The ISPs have agreed to implement a standardized "graduated response plan" through which offending users are warned, restricted and eventually cut off from the Internet for successive violations.
If your teenage son or daughter is downloading illegal movies or music from your house, you may be the one who is held "guilty." Ditto if you have an open wireless which your neighbors use.
In essence, subscribers will lose their expectation of privacy from their own service providers. What does that mean for businesses that pass sensitive information? How about lawyers, financial institutions and health care providers?
What's to stop an ISP (or a greedy employee) from monitoring more than copyright violations? This doesn't seem at all far-fetched to me in a world where I would once have said that Murdoch's shady reporters couldn't possibly bribe Scotland Yard.
It is entirely possible that some businesses will choose to use ISPs outside the U.S.
Congress, are you watching this?
Hat tip to Dave Ries.
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