AT&T is considering steps to filter the Internet traffic it provides in order to stop illegal file-sharing, the AP reports. CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking to the World Economic Forum today, likened the company's role as passive participant in copyright infringement to witnessing a crime: "It's like being in a store and watching someone steal a DVD. Do you act?"
It's not the first time AT&T has discussed such plans, which, if realized, would be a major change from the open-access policy Internet service providers have followed so far. Comcast has utilized bandwidth usage caps in order to discourage file-sharing, although they can also limit legitimate Internet activities. Consumer groups and legal scholars have complained that AT&T’s proposal violates privacy principles inherent to the Internet.