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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Neat how not only does this approach seem to have failed to stop whoever was actually doing the downloading, but that in addition someone who has always paid for content has now resolved not to do so when it's delivered digitally--for fear of more baseless accusations. Which brings us back to the "how does graduated response create more sales?" question.

    Also, in the emails posted by Qwest they right up and said that her IP address was dynamic and had also been used by others. Even without considering the widely-used practice of spoofing (not just IP addresses but also host names and physical NIC addresses) it seems the evidence provided by BayTSP is threadbare. And this is what the grand plan of graduated response is based on? Surely they must know that the ones who are actually doing it aren't getting caught while the ones who end up getting cut off are the only ones who even might have considered paying for content?

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