Now that our serious work is out of the way, here’s a quick take on the non-attributed, behind-the-scenes, from-the-hallways-or-maybe-even-the-restrooms stuff we heard at the Silicon Flatirons conference in Boulder last weekend:
Where’s AT&T? Too busy filtering traffic? Too bad reps from Ma Bell weren’t on hand in Boulder, since the company’s pledge to sift through all its traffic for possible copyright violations seemed to be part of every panel discussion, whether it was part of the topic or not. Since this was a conference mainly of lawyers, the main question seemed to be whether or not AT&T was setting itself up for legal liabilities by pledging to do deep-packet inspection on all bits running across its network. (At one point we were worried that Tim Wu was going to charge the stage in his no-need-for-a-microphone back-and-forth exchange with panelist Mark Lemley. But things calmed down.)
In the end, there seemed to be no good answer (though Level 3 CEO Jim Crowe told his lunch table that his company was legally afraid to do such inspections), especially since nobody from AT&T was around. “It doesn’t really matter if they would be guilty or not,” noted one men’s room pontificator. “No court would convict them of it anyway.” Nothing like a good cynical note to close it.
(At any rate, AT&T did sponsor the Sunday-night beer-n-wine reception, where on their dime we had a tasty 90 Shilling. Thanks!)