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
    The AC you responded to above, 1 Feb 2010 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re:

    You're not very good at the Metaphor thing.

    The e-mail metaphor is much, Much more fitting. It's not physical theft that's the issue here, it's not someone's house being broken into. The issue at hand is a matter of mistaken/"stolen" identity, which is what the e-mail metaphor demonstrates. I suggest you read it again.

    As the question above asked, could you blame your employer for taking corrective actions when they believed that you were acting inappropriately and in a way that required corrective actions?

    Grandma has a responsibility for the security of the account, and she failed that responsibility. Some kid used her account to act in a way that violated the ToS and AUP of the company, so they shut down the account to stop the violating actions.




    Or, if you're absolutely stuck on the "car" metaphor, at least get it right. This is much more as though someone with the same model/color car as you made a copy of your license plate and was caught by a redlight camera. The police writing the ticket don't necessarily know who's driving (downloading), but they're going to write the ticket to the registered owner of that license plate.

    Do you blame the cops for not knowing that it grandma in the driver seat? ...I really hope not.


    The difference in this latest metaphor being that, in this imaginary case, it's not the grandmother's fault for the mix-up. In the real case, the grandmother has accepted the responsibility for all actions on the account (according to their ToS and AUP), and failed to secure it.

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