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OPLIN 4Cast #291: Who gets to control your Internet?

Posted in 4cast

For a long time, libraries have expected to have some control over the content of the Internet available in their buildings. Whether to filter, what to filter, how much to filter — these are all decisions that normally have been in the hands of libraries and their governing boards. Lately, however, Internet service providers (ISPs) and support companies both overseas and here at home seem to be increasingly willing to get involved in decisions regarding the type of Internet you will get if you use their products and services. Some of that willingness is the result of business pressure, and some is the result of pressure from governments and interest groups.

  • Soon, your ISP will scold you for file sharing — will it make a difference? (ReadWriteWeb/John Paul Titlow)  “In a matter of weeks, the Center For Copyright Information (CCI) will begin enforcing a new antipiracy policy cooked up in concert with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Under the new system, major ISPs in the United States will send warnings to people who use peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to download content illegally.”
  • Chinese operators hope to standardize a segmented Internet (PC World/Mikael Ricknäs)  “Today, China blocks Internet access to some foreign websites. The goal outlined by the new document is to make it easier and cheaper for countries to create independent root DNS [Domain Name System] servers and realize Internet autonomy. Today, that is both costly and technically difficult, according to the draft. ‘When you read the document it very much comes across as a way to severely segment the Internet,’ said Patrik Wallström, CEO at OpenDNSSEC AB….”
  • Verizon Wireless wants to ‘edit’ your Internet access (CNET News/Violet Blue)  “Verizon has filed a brief (Verizon vs. FCC) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for the ‘freedom’ to edit your Internet, dear customer. If you think this would remain a Verizon issue, think again. If Verizon gatecrashes Internet access filtering, you better bet that other ISPs will hustle to get on the train to sell Internet “priority’ spots to the highest bidders.”
  • Freeing your router from Cisco’s anti-porn, pro-copyright cloud service (Ars Technica/Jon Brodkin)  “The service basically replicates all the features router administrators already have, but moves them from your home network to Cisco’s cloud. The supposed benefit is that you can manage your router even when you’re not at home. […] In exchange for the convenience of Connect Cloud, you have to agree to some pretty onerous terms. In short, Cisco would really hate it if you use the Web to view porn or download copyrighted files without paying for them.”

Terms of Service fact:
Cisco quickly revised their Terms of Service to address customers’ complaints that the Connect Cloud service required them to allow Cisco to track all their Internet use. The revised Terms, however, still require customers to agree not to use Cisco cloud-managed routers “…for obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes.”