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
    Alan Gerow (profile), 1 Feb 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Re:

    "At the end of the day, if her internet connection is that important to her, she should protect it."

    And how do you know she didn't? All the article states is: "and he discovered that her network had been compromised". It never said she had an unencrypted open WiFi network. Only that it was compromised ... she could have had a password that was cracked, a machine within her network could have been hacked or hijacked. Perhaps her ISP gave her a modem with an integrated WiFi router that was enabled without her knowledge.

    Though, if you lend out your car, you are responsible for parking tickets, but you aren't responsible if the person robs a bank and uses your car as a getaway car. And if your car is seized for human trafficking, you'll get it back after it's done being used as evidence. You're responsible for civil fines in cases where your property is left in public, but not criminal involvement from other persons using your property.

    And regardless, there are easy-to-understand processes in place for dealing with false accusations of parking tickets. You can fight a false accusation in court, and three parking tickets will not terminate your ability to drive a car. This grandmother would not have had any means of recourse had it not been for public outcry.

    Government officials recognize that denying convicted felons and sex offenders access to the Internet is too draconian ... yet being accused a couple times of downloading a song or movie using severely faulty identification techniques justifies terminating the ability for someone to function in an increasingly web connected world. That makes so much sense.

    Every web site you visit knows your IP address. A little spoofing, a couple e-mails, and The Anti-Mike may not be able to post any more comments to TechDirt for a while.

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