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More signs of an emerging police state -- the top six Internet Service Providers -- AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon, are launching the Six Strikes system this Monday. Supposedly, the Official Story (TM) is that the system is designed to protect against copyright infringement. However, in reality, it gives six gigantic corporations the power to censor free speech under the guise of protecting intellectual property. There are way too many unanswered questions here. What about fair use? And what about WiFi networks? If I were a student at a university, what would happen if some other student were to download copyrighted material and Time Warner saw fit to nuke the whole network?

Interestingly, as the Techdirt link notes, there is no incentive to get users to buy the creative content that Time Warner, Comcast, and the RIAA is so "concerned" about protecting. All that will do is turn people off of the big labels and onto smaller labels who have thought up better ways to sell their work than playing Big Brother.

Boing Boing explains why this would harm WiFi as well:

   Termination may not be part of the CAS, but that's not the point—the program still uses "protecting copyright" as an excuse to seriously hinder a user's online experience. For example, CAS involves not just "education" but also "Mitigation Measures," such as slowing down Internet speeds to 256 kbps for days—rendering your connection all but unusable in today's era of videochats and Netflix.

    Lesser doesn't think that's a problem. As she told the radio show On The Media: "The reduction of speed, which one or more of the ISPs will be using as a mitigation measure, is first of all only 48 hours, which is far from termination."

    But that's 48 hours of lower productivity and limited communication across the globe, based on nothing more than a mere allegation of copyright infringement.

Exactly. No due process, no way to defend one's self against allegations of copyright violations. The Dictator is always right.

This is the same sort of police state mentality that was unleashed by the Patriot Act. Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the government and now certain corporations have used it as an excuse to engage in ever-increasing snooping on people for any reason they can think of.

Jill Lesser, the chief propagandist for the Center for Copyright Information even has the nerve to say that it is not a punitive program even though it significantly lowers the bandwidth of people who they claim engage in such infringement. She also has the nerve to say that it is a voluntary program. Huh? How can a program be voluntary when it is the Big Six who are the Deciders as to what is and isn't copyright infringement? War is peace. Right is wrong.

The first two offenses, as determined Verizon (link above), would result in warnings. The next two would require the customer to go to a page where they "acknowledge" the warnings. The fifth and sixth would throttle download speeds to just above dial-up. The only way one could appeal is to pay $35 for a review by an arbitrator -- selected by The Decider, of course. AT&T would block users' access to some of their most frequently visited websites and Time Warner would interrupt the ability to browse the Internet temporarily. And your IP address could be referred to the RIAA for a lawsuit -- further lining their pockets.

And the problem is that it will do nothing to stop someone who wants to download copyrighted content. The system is specifically designed against BitTorrent, meaning that most people will simply move their business to other sites. Others will simply conceal their IP numbers using proxies and VPN services. And this site lists six ways you can get around the system.

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