So, from my NewTeeVee feed, I followed a little story about ISPs in Europe. Apparently somewhere there is proposed legislation that would require ISPs to spy on their customers to determine whether or not the customers are breaking copyright law by using P2P tools. The article refers to this as “Europe’s Fight for Net Neutrality“.
I don’t see this as a net neutrality issue as much as I see it as a privacy issue. I don’t want some network administrator sniffing my packets. Trust me, I do not (intentionally) break copyright law. In fact, I’m a teacher who teaches about this in the classroom. But, I still don’t find it ok to monitor what I send from my computer out into the internet and what I download all in the name of copyright protection. And, I don’t want to have to go through extensive encryption methods to help “ensure” my own privacy.
This concept is not new. The article makes reference to France’s 3-strikes and your out policy. This isn’t much different from Virgin Media’s new policy. Is this a trend that will sweep Europe? Does it make sense to put this legislation into practice when courts are already overwhelmed with cases over these issues? Who will enforce it? How will the additional monitoring and maintenance be funded? Does the benefits of catching copyright-law-breakers really balance out the loss of privacy, additional red-tape litigation and technological administrative overhead? Or, is it time that we rethought the structure of copyright. Where do we go from here?