Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Qwest Says It Can Charge You If Your Computer Spams Anyone

from the idle-threats? dept

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    A Funny Guy, Jan 9th, 2006 @ 1:54am

    No Subject Given

    I'll tell you what. If some company like them sent me a bill for spam that a virus cuased that my virus detection software did not catch i'd give them the one-finger salute!
    And that is the lump sum they would get from me.
    Let them take me to court. There is such thing as reasonable doubt and I could create that even without a lawyer. There are so many ways to hijack a computer line that are not the customers fault it is not funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tom, Jan 9th, 2006 @ 7:33am

    Re: Reasonable Doubt (was: No Subject Given)

    In civil suits, the plaintiff is not required to go as far as beyond a "reasonable doubt". A "preponderance of evidence" is all that is needed to convict you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2006 @ 9:29am

    Re: Reasonable Doubt (was: No Subject Given)

    No "preponderance of evidence" from an unassailable source is available (or possible). Think about it! That little nuance IS the problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    guest, Jan 18th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    Re: Reasonable Doubt (was: No Subject Given)

    Isn't this in the realm of contract law, not a civil suit?
    They can put forth whatever terms they want to - you don't have to sign on the dotted line. Being online is not some god-given right - why should someone who doesn't understand security have the "right" to get hacked and bombard me with spam? I don't like Qwest, but I don't mind this - as long as they apply the clause fairly (ha).
    Just think though - if they DID enforce it. It would change everything overnight..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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