It wants to incorporate antipiracy technology to protect video content and attract advertisers, but runs the risk of enraging privacy advocates and others.
AT&T (T) may soon beef up its antipiracy arsenal. The biggest U.S. telephone company is considering technology that could give it a heads-up when customers are watching partners' copyrighted video, BusinessWeek has learned. AT&T is in talks with NBC Universal and Walt Disney (DIS) about using the knowhow to guard against illegal distribution of their shows and films.
AT&T's approach is likely to raise the hackles of privacy advocates, who have already slammed the phone company for its role in helping the Bush Administration tap citizens' phone lines. "They better be very careful," warns Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "This is serious, serious stuff, to basically invade the privacy of all of your subscribers."