News.com Prevents Falsely Accused Grandmother Of Getting Kicked Off The Internet By The MPAA

from the but-who-will-protect-anyone-else? dept

One of the problems we've had with the whole "three strikes" concept that would kick people off the internet due to accusations, not convictions, of file sharing, is the fact that we hear all the time about innocent users accused of file sharing. Greg Sandoval, over at News.com recently came across a grandmother who was falsely accused multiple times of file sharing, and her ISP, Qwest, was threatening to kick her off the internet. We had not heard that Qwest had signed on with a "three strikes" program, so it's a bit of news that it's one of the companies who will accept bogus accusations. Not only that, but Qwest even told her that no other provider would grant her service because Qwest would let those other service providers "know her name and what she did." Thanks, Qwest!

The problem, of course, was that Cathi Paradiso didn't share any of the movies or TV shows she was accused of sharing, and she works from home as a recruiter -- so losing her internet access would be devastating. But the only way she got Qwest to back down was because Sandoval and News.com became interested in the story and convinced Qwest to look deeper. But if Paradiso hadn't been able to draw attention to herself from the press, she would have had no recourse. There was no one she could appeal to, and no official process to respond to the bogus claims of Hollywood. She got lucky that News.com was willing to pick up her story and contact Qwest, but what about anyone else threatened with bogus notices? Meanwhile, BayTSP, the company whose "evidence" has been shown to be flimsy and easily falsified in the past, stands by accusing her of file sharing, saying it was her own fault for having an open WiFi network, suggesting there's something inherently wrong with sharing your WiFi. Yes, the company stands by its false accusation. Nice company.

Filed Under: due process, false accusation, file sharing, three strikes
Companies: baytsp, qwest


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  1. icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), 2 Feb 2010 @ 1:56am

    Re: Re:

    The answers are frighteningly easy.

    "As an end user, you don't need to know".

    A standard user, with a wifi set with WEP (default active from the cable or DSL company), with a standard anti-virus, firewall turned on, updated regularly has nothing more they need to know, unless they want to run specialized software.

    The rest of your questions are things that end users don't generally need to know. WiFi routers/modem combinations (2wire is a commonly used company for this) are shipped to the user pre-secured already. The Wireless is secured with a significant security key, and the only way to access the modem otherwise is via hard wire. While the wireless key isn't impossible to hack, it's a pretty long key, and the time to test a key is long enough to make brute force hacking a pretty useless way to get in, and most of the tools to hack WEP require that there are active users on it (which there was not in this case). For example, the WEP key (default) on my 2wire is 26 characters. The total clicks required to turn off wireless is 3, and could easily be explained by technical support.

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