The forthcoming Copyright Alert System ( Verge article on Copyright Alert System ) has a few kinks in it from the get-go, as well as some basic misunderstandings of technical constraints of the majority of end-users.
I'm not familiar with the technology that CAS will utilize to identify targets for ISP warnings, but the first potential problems will come at the identification stage. Unless the most egregious users are identified prior to warning letters going out, the ISPs should expect a large backlash from its installed base.
The system expects ISP customers to become copyright cops as part of their responsibility for having an Internet connection. This is an unreasonable expectation for unqualified, nontechnical, users of their service. Relying on the general populace to become learned about Internet technology as well as legal experts on identifying potential infringing content is a giant leap in expectations beyond just asking someone to pay their bill on time. Explain this all to my mother who still thinks her Operating System is Internet Explorer and who just learned last month about right-click menus.
That's just part of the problem with the system. Next up is the access control problem. When Verizon installed FiOS in my house, they put in a WiFi router with WEP security. Even with WPA (of the pass-key variety), cracking into my WiFi will take my neighbors less than an hour, and there's tons of tutorials on how to do it. While I may have secured my network further, others won't have been as fortunate. After just one CAS letter, my next door neighbor will likely be piggybacking on my less savvy neighbors. This can't be controlled, not with today's technology, and not without significant expenditure. Maybe it's time for me to hang out a 'will secure your wifi for food' shingle.
The one thing that really irritates me is the $35 charge they intend to foster on people who ask for account reviews - putting the onus on the accused to pay for their own defense. Maybe it's the legal eagle in my blood that says this flies in the face of what Americans consider fair and due process. I can see this being the first part of this agreement to make it fall all to hell.
Good luck, ISPs, I don't think you know what kind of failure you're setting yourself up for.
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