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AT&T to crush copyrighted network packets

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AT&T says it's time to start filtering copyrighted content at the network level.

During a panel discussion at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), The New York Times reports, the communications giant joined Microsoft and NBC Universal in arguing that internet service providers - like AT&T itself - should be sniffing your networks packets and blocking anything that copyright holders don't traveling over the wire.

"We are very interested in a technology based solution and we think a network-based solution is the optimal way to approach this," said James Cicconi, senior vice president for external and legal affairs for AT&T. "We recognize we are not there yet, but there are a lot of promising technologies. But we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies, including NBC Universal, to try to explore various technologies that are out there."

He also said the company has spent the last six months discussing this plan with the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) and its counterpart in the movie biz, the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA). As if they wouldn't be involved in the end-all, be-all plan to crack down on P2P file-sharers.

When Cicconi was asked if AT&T's customers would stand for this sort of thing, he played coy. "Whatever we do has to pass muster with consumers and with policy standards. There is going to be a spotlight on it," he told the NY Times. "We’ve got to figure out a friendly way to do it. There’s no doubt about it."

We wonder if Cicconi would use the word "friendly" to describe the way Comcast surreptitiously throttled its customers' BitTorrent traffic. ®

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