One has to wonder why the largest ISPs in America- Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T - are signing on to the new "six strikes" plan. Ars Technica asked Verizon's Ed McFadden, and he said Verizon is just being a good citizen. He was shocked the question was even asked.
AT&T's filing last year shows how AT&T feels about the issue:
While we at AT&T are willing to, and actively do, forward these notices to our customers today, we nonetheless believe that there are significant legal and policy issues associated with taking the next step of sanctioning our customers based solely on the receipt of multiple third party notices.
Private entities are not created or meant to conduct the law enforcement and judicial balancing act that would be required; they are not charged with sitting in judgment of facts; and they are not empowered to punish alleged criminals without a court order or other government sanction. Indeed, the liability implications of ISPs acting as a quasi-law-enforcement/judicial branch could be enormous. The government and the courts, not ISPs, are responsible for intellectual property enforcement, and only they can secure and balance the various property, privacy, and due process rights that are at play and often in conflict in this realm.
Verizon's Tom Tauke expressed similar concerns in 2008. He said that "Once you start going down the path of looking at the information going down the network, there are many that want you to play the role of policeman." ISPs used these kinds of arguments in 1998 to persuade Congress to add a "safe harbor" to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They have resisted becoming copyright cops for years. That stance has changed in recent years, in part because all the major players own content delivery systems.
White House arm-twisting has also caused a shift. Either way, this change in policy has caused a shift, regardless of political involvement. There is no presumption of innocence under the new system. One has to prove their innocence.