Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AT&T patents tech that can block
copyright pirates (and anything else) in real-time

Its not a small step to go from banning a video to banning a forbidden document or web page... they're analyzing content and scoring the results in a database... And then acting as judge and law enforcement, who needs Judge Dredd when you have AT&T?  Now do you see why they consolidated the Internet Provider Services by subsidizing the Telecom giants with nice billion dollar wiretap contracts with the NSA and FBI? They can easily pressure the major telecom CEOs to comply but they could never do that without public exposure to the thousands of ISP providers that existed in the late 1990s.  There was no way the thousands of mom and pop ISPs could compete with the capital funding provided by the government agencies to these corporate giants...  - Bill

AT&T patents tech that can block copyright pirates in real-time

By Dell Cameron on December 17, 2013

AT&T has developed new technology to detect and block file-sharing software, as well as track which customers are using it.

According to a patent awarded to AT&T on Nov. 19, the company intends to monitor the online behavior of its customers, evaluate usage patterns and assign them “scores” which places users into varying “risk classes.” Once a user’s activity is categorized, the company can respond in a number of ways, including blocking the transfer entirely.

The company contends that, as network technology has expanded, and online access has become a fixture in most households and businesses, the opportunities for “unscrupulous users and/or activities” has equally increased.

“Many users may fall victim to exploits and/or malicious schemes of undesirable elements on the Internet, such as, for example, hackers," the patent explained. "In some instances, hackers may be capable of surreptitiously hijacking a user’s personal computer and using it for fraudulent purposes.”

Protecting a customer’s personal information isn’t AT&T's only motivation behind the system, however.
According to the patent, AT&T might implement this system to protect customers from hackers, whom they claim are hijacking their customer’s systems for the purpose of downloading copyrighted material, such as music or films. Specifically, the company claims, “a user’s personal computer may be used by a hacker to engage in Internet piracy of copyright protected materials." Internet piracy is responsible for significant bandwidth usage, as well, AT&T said.

“Thus far, copyright protection measures that have been deployed by, for example, the entertainment industry, have failed to curtail increases in Internet piracy.”

Actions taken by AT&T in response to file-sharing may vary, from terminating a customer's data transmission, suspending their account, or reporting their traffic to an "interested party," such as the copyright owner. The company said it may also report the user's activity to law enforcement, or choose to store a record of the traffic for later review.

This isn’t the first anti-piracy monitoring system developed by AT&T. In July, the company received a patent for “real-time content detection in ISP transmissions,” which could also be used to report customers sharing copyrighted materials to law enforcement.

Many corporations hold patents on technologies that are never used, so it's unclear if this "anti-piracy" monitoring system will ever be employed by AT&T.

H/T TorrentFreak / Illustration by Carlos Latuff

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