Influential think-tanky tells Congress: bandwidth caps fight piracy!

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson summarizes the crazy House Judiciary Committee testimony of Daniel Castro from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation DC think tank. Castro was testifying on proposals to reduce online copyright infringement, and he suggested that ISPs caps on downloads were a good way to accomplish this goal (much in the same way that you could reduce traffic fatalities by allowing auto-manufacturers to cap the number of miles you were allowed to drive each month!). It got crazier from there, and none of it would matter except that Castro has historically had the ear of lawmakers, who incorporated some of his proposals into the pending COICA web-censorship bill.

Should the US government actually fund antipiracy research? Sure. Should the US government "enlist" Internet providers to block entire websites? Sure. Should copyright holders suggest to the government which sites should go on the blocklist? Sure. Should ad networks and payment processors be forced to cut ties to such sites, even if those sites are legal in the countries where they operate? Sure.

Castro's original 2009 paper goes further, suggesting that deep packet inspection (DPI) be routinely deployed by ISPs in order to scan subscriber traffic for potential copyright infringements. Sound like wiretapping? Yes, though Castro has a solution if courts do crack down on the practice: "the law should be changed."

After all, "piracy mitigation with DPI deals with a set of issues virtually identical to the largely noncontroversial question of virus detection and mitigation."

Congress told that Internet data caps will discourage piracy

(Image: Piracy, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from toobydoo's photostream)