By Martin Bosworth
Two seemingly coincidental bits of news crossed my desk yesterday morning. First, the Wall Street Journal contains excerpts of an interview with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell in which he outlines a vast new initiative to police Internet traffic “for abuse.”
Meanwhile, AT&T announced that it plans to extend its initiative to examine packets of information on its network for illegally traded content, becoming, in effect, the Internet’s traffic cop.
Let’s see…the world’s largest telecom company states it’s in negotiations with major entertainment conglomerate to police the Internet on their behalf, on the same day the DNI announces the government wants more eyes on Internet traffic?
Mike McConnell is an old friend to the major telecom companies, having most recently stumped on their behalf to grant them retroactive immunity from prosecution in the NSA’s illegal surveillance program. He’s also a big fan of privatizing national security functions, favoring everything from outsourcing background checks to enlisting credit bureaus to handle the work of verifying identities. I find it not at all unfeasible that even as AT&T is offering its services to Big Content, Big Government is waiting expectantly in the visitors’ room for its turn at the till.
There are no coincidences.