AT&T Considering Scary, Content-Recognizing Anti-Piracy Filter for Entire Network

Remember YouTube's content filtering system? AT&T is mulling setting one up across its whole network. BusinessWeek's reporting AT&T's in talks with NBC Universal and Disney to possibly use content-recognition tech developed by Vobile—a company they've all invested in—to block pirated material from being sent to and fro along its network.

The setup would work a lot like GooTube's—the networks would hand over a bank of material that AT&T/Vobile would run traffic on the network against, looking for positive IDs. If it matches the "video DNA" on file, it gets the hammer. Supposedly Vobile's ID tech is tops, at least among "a dozen or so other systems" tested by the MPAA. AT&T's reportedly been testing it since spring, though it'd launch until late 2008 at the earliest.

In order to keep consumers and net neutrality advocates from flipping out, one marketing strategy AT&T might use is to emphasize the filter as a way to catch child porn, since no one can really argue against stopping predators. On the flip side, an effective monitoring program is loaded with business propositions, from helping them net content distribution rights to being able to "offer far more detailed information on [customers'] likes and dislikes, in turn enabling AT&T and its partners to land lucrative deals with advertisers hungry for such data."

I could act all shocked and appalled like Wilson about AT&T being so disinterested in customers' privacy (to put it lightly), but it wouldn't be genuine, and I'd feel dirty in the morning for lying to you. [BusinessWeek via Broadband Reports]