If you’re an AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon customer, beware, your Internet will soon be monitored on a continual basis as part of a new measure to crack down on digital piracy.
It’s not clear exactly how the Copyright Alert System (CAS) works, but content providers and ISPs will work together to check the legality of consumer downloads. For instance, if someone downloaded a full length movie via BitTorrent, the ISPs would then compare the hash content of that movie to the content provider’s original work.
If they discover that the content was indeed downloaded illegally, the content provider would then have logs of all those in violation (such as IP address and basic computer specs, but no personal information) for use in their defense cases. The ISP would then send a message to the specific user warning them about their violation and pointing them in the right direction (i.e. how to download it legally, along with potential penalties they could face).
If a specific person is warned on multiple occasions, ISPs would then throttle Internet speeds or downgrade their service tier. They could even block you from accessing certain sites until you contact the ISP or complete an online copyright education program. Of course users have the option to prove the ISPs wrong if they feel they were targeted falsely. For now, there is no information as to whether users could face legal action, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s implemented into the program in the future.
While most may think CAS is aimed at heavy downloaders, even those downloading illegal content on a “casual” basis are susceptible to being warned.
Comcast will be the first to launch CAS with the others following suit shortly after.