“Canadian ISPs have been defiant,” said Mark Tauschek, a senior networks and telecom research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group. “They have refused to co-operate. They have said the Internet is an open network and they aren’t going to police the content that goes across it … unless there is criminality involved, they won’t cough up information or necessarily block content.”
What’s interesting here is “unless there is criminality involved.” See, the major ISP’s already filter URLs that contain images of child abuse and may soon be expanding into other issue areas. The filtering technology is in place, it can be extended further. The issue here is that ISP’s don’t want to be in a position of judging content, they don’t want to rule on whether something is criminal or not, but should that responsibility be delegated to some legitimate authority they don’t seem to have any problem with filtering. It seems that filtering for reasons of copyright is not likely to be happening anytime soon. Still, it is an issue worth paying close attention to, as mission creep generally follows the implementation of filtering. It is also worth following closely due to the fact that other countries, particularly the U.S. and Europe are also moving in the direction of filtering for copyright reasons.
Using a technique similar to that of the GFW of China, Comcast is interfering with bittorrent and other traffic. Other ISP’s in the U.S. are also considering implementing filtering. An ISP in Denmark, TDC, blocked allofmp3.com to comply with a legal ruling. There have been proposals to implement filtering for copyright reasons in Belgium, Norway, France and other European countries. While the EFF reports that proposed Amendments put before the EU’s Committee on Culture and Education, which included ISP filtering, have been withdrawn or voted down they caution that there may still be attempts to introduce such language before the actual Parliamentary vote.
Will 2008 become the “Year of the Filters“?