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Verizon Staying Out of Internet Policing Game

Verizon Staying Out of Internet Policing GameWith Verizon's extensive DSL network and growing FiOS offerings for delivering high-speed Internet access, the company is establishing itself as a serious player in the Internet Service Provider (or ISP) industry. This is making it a target of Hollywood establishments that want Verizon to start policing its Internet traffic and help those content-producers protect their valuable copyrights that many users flog online. However, Verizon is taking a stand and is, at least for the moment, indicating that it will not be bullied into establishing systems to monitor its users and report on those who break the law.

In an interview with the 'New York Times,' Verizon's EVP Tom Tauke indicated that there's no reason for the company to get into this system of policing. Phone companies have largely made an effort to distance their networks with the content that they carry, freeing them from worry about lawsuits if someone said something illegal or indecent over the telephone. The situation is largely the same now, except that more and more ISPs are ignoring that history and installing systems to monitor and track the behavior of their subscribers, turning themselves into ad-hoc police forces.

Tauke believes that any attempt at policing subscribers only opens the door for the ISP itself to be prosecuted if it fails to do an adequate job. Likewise, once you start to police one thing (say, illegal movie downloads) how can you then not police things like music downloading, child pornography, illegal gambling, etc.? The list is endless and will only continue to grow. But, while this is largely Verizon making a sound business move to protect its interests, this move also places it in good standing with many Internet users out there who worry about their online privacy. And, with AT&T indicating it will monitor its Internet users, and with Time Warner Cable indicating it's going to start charging extra for users who download more traffic, Verizon may be the best place online for serious Internet users. Now if only they'd get their FiOS service in more neighborhoods.

From BoingBoing

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Tags: Internet, ISP, Privacy, Verizon

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