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 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Back to the bsics

    I believe they get the IP addresses from joining ed2k networks. Basically they'll do what anyone else would do, like install an e-mule client and then do a search for material that the people they're working for have copyrights on. The unravelling starts here, since it's text-based search and it's only the name they're looking for. Of course with an electronic file you can name it whatever you want (it's how malware spreads on those networks). So it may or may not be the thing they (and other users) think it is.

    Once joined to a network, you can see the host names and IP addresses of the other network members you've connected to. The name can be whatever the individual client user wants it to be. The IP address can be spoofed, randomized, whatever. I'm pretty sure that on ed2k (don't use it myself, so I'm not clear on it) a client is connected to all the other clients on a given server even if they don't have the files the client user wants. So there again it's not really proof of anything.

    This is just from the letters I've run across third-hand that came from BayTSP. I've only ever seen reference to files on ed2k networks (the client being used is identified in the letters). The only other things identified are the filename and the IP address, with data from a whois service (which for home users will show their ISP, I'd imagine). Really doesn't tell you anything, and in the end what little they do provide all rests on the assumption that the IP address and the content of the files are genuine.

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