[Wired] New Lobbying Group Calls for Internet Filtering

A just-formed lobbying group of content producers, equipment makers and internet gatekeepers said Thursday that internet service providers should embrace filtering.

Behind the lobby are AT&T, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Viacom and the Songwriters Guild of America. Among other things, the lobby, called Arts+Labs, says "network operators must have the flexibility to manage and expand their networks to defend against net pollution and illegal file-trafficking which threatens to congest and delay the network for all consumers."


Running the new lobby is Mike McCurry, President Clinton's press secretary and departing chairman of Hands off the Internet, a group of telcos and others opposing net neutrality.

Still, network-level filtering technology isn't ready for prime time. And it remains to be seen whether filtering could account for fair use or could decipher whether copyright material along a network was authorized to be there.

(FCC said) "We also note that because consumers are entitled to access the lawful internet content of their choice, providers, consistent with federal policy, may block transmissions of illegal content (e.g., child pornography) or transmissions that violate copyright law. To the extent, however, that providers choose to utilize practices that are not application- or content-neutral, the risk to the open nature of the internet is particularly acute and the danger of network-management practices being used to further anti-competitive ends is strong."