Ridiculous terms of service from telcos are really nothing new. Hell, if telcos actually enforced all the terms in their terms of service it's unlikely anyone would be able to use most telco services. However, that doesn't mean it's not worth shining a light on some of the more onerous terms of service. Someone on Dave Farber's Interesting People list noticed that Qwest's DSL terms of service forbids all sorts of things, such as setting up a WiFi hotspot for customers or setting up any server -- even if you have a static IP address. This is the type of stuff you might expect overly worried ISPs to say anyway, but apparently this agreement supposedly counts even if another company is your ISP, and Qwest is just providing the line. In other words, if you get Speakeasy DSL using a Qwest line, even though Speakeasy lets you share your connection with neighbors and set up servers, you'd be in violation of Qwest's rules. Even more interesting, though, is the spam clause. If Qwest discovers your machine has been hijacked by a trojan and is sending out spam, you're liable for $5/spam message. Now, I'm sure some folks will suggest that it's the computer owners' responsibility to protect their machines, and the threat of a $5/spam fine could wake a few folks up who are lax in their computer security -- but it still seems to be a bit much for the average user who may simply have no idea why they suddenly appear to owe Qwest millions of dollars.
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