Net Neutrality's Death Rattle Starts July 12

ISPs are about to start policing your downloads on behalf of monolithic organizations like the RIAA and MPAA. Are you ready for the internet nanny state?

Last year, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable agreed to take steps to combat piracy on their networks. Translation: the ISPs said they would monitor your internet traffic and make your life hell if they suspect you're up to illegal file sharing.

Speaking at the Association of American Publishers' annual meeting, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman says that the ISPs are all on track to kick off the "anti-piracy initiative" by July 12th. What exactly that means depends varies from ISP to ISP. CNET reports:

The program, commonly referred to as "graduated response," requires that ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. If the customer doesn't stop, the ISP is then asked to send out "confirmation notices" asking that they confirm that they have received notice.

They will also be informed of the risks they incur if they don't stop pirating material. The ISP then can ratchet up the pressure. The ISPs can choose from a list of penalties or what the RIAA calls "mitigation measures" that include throttling down the customer's connection speed to suspending Web access until the subscriber agrees to stop pirating. The ISPs can waive the mitigation measure if they choose.

Basically, if you like BitTorrent, get ready for some hate mail and snail's pace download speeds courtesy of your ISP! So much for the free and open web. [CNET]

Image via Shutterstock/John David Bigi III