A major US ISP has turned down Hollywood demands to introduce content filters on its broadband service as a way to stem movie piracy. Verizon believes that by giving into Hollywood now, it could open itself to many more such demands in the future - and that in turn will lead to a much poorer internet experience for us all.
Verizon is one of the US largest communications and internet providers. It is also behind FiOS - a fibre optic service which delivers TV programming, including HD content, directly into people's homes.
The unlikely advocate for freedom of content and free speech is Verizon's executive vice president for corporate affairs Tom Tauke. Tauke told a New York Times reporter that there were three reasons for Verizon's rejection of Hollywood's call:
1) That Verizon didn't want to play policeman - and that if it gave into one demand, that it would eventually have to give in to them all.
2) That it makes Verizon vulnerable to court action if copyrighted content does accidentally slip through.
3) The need to stop piracy has to be balanced against a user's privacy.
Taukes was also unconvinced by the need to introduce 'traffic shaping' as rivals like Comcast has done. This slows network traffic that use bit torrents to exchange files. Bit torrents are often used to transfer illegal content between users.
"We don't want to solve any network congestion issues by restricting the flow of certain kinds of traffic," he told the New York Times.