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 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 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 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 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re:

    I would expect that Qwest has at least basic logging enabled. Is that an unfair assumption? The tech, in their e-mail response, showed the user all the IP's that'd been assigned in the last 30 days for her account, so I don't think this assumption is unfounded. If you don't think that the ISP can verify the likelihood of the *18* different accounts of downloading copyrighted materials, then I believe you underestimate the information available to your ISP.

    For those who don't know, everything that you do online, every connection you make, every packet you send or receive, can be monitored/logged/etc through your ISP. Now, I think it's fair to say that for the most part they don't log most things, and mostly don't care. But after 18 accusations of violating actions on her account, I would venture a guess that they were able to actually verify the activity. Call me a shill if you wish, but it's hardly crazy talk.

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to call her "innocent" in this case. I love grandmothers as much as the next guy. Heck, I still have one left and I love her. But when this grandma failed to secure her network, "innocence" becomes a little fuzzy. She agreed to take responsibility for all actions under her account, and as soon as they held her to this she flipped out. Yes, her account abuse was not intentional on her part, but ignorance is no excuse for a failure to meet the responsibilities you agreed to. If you're not able to run a network correctly, you shouldn't run one at all.

    "No, that is not an ISPs job at all. They have no legal responsibility to do so at all."

    You may be right here. They may have no legal responsibility to do so. However, you'll notice the e-mail posted on the article has 'DMCA' in the title, which may be an indication that the account was not only downloading content, but also disseminating it (peer to peer being very likely here). Depending on the actual traffic that was present, they may in fact had a legal responsibility to disable the account.

    Regardless of whether they "have to" take action on the matter, they do have Acceptable Use Policies and Terms of Service, which give them the legal right to take actions against users who violate these policies. They may not be obliged to act at all on this matter, but it generally is the ISP's job to enforce its terms and policies, which is precisely what it did here. I have no idea why you guys think this is a problem.

    It's not like they're randomly picking on this lady. This lady agreed to full responsibility for the actions of her traffic ("her traffic" defined as all traffic to her account, in this case her unsecured network). This traffic violated the policies of the service provider. The provider took action against her account for violating these policies. It's unfortunate that this grandmother's network was compromised, and I hope she gets that taken care of. But this is hardly big bad corporate america beating up on some innocent old lady just for giggles.

    But of course, this site especially loves to bash and laugh at the recording/movie industry representatives, so this is just another change to get a dig in. I don't really care about those industries, as I listen to Pandora radio at work and rarely go to see movies, but this site is always super quick to get some kind of dig in on them. Those old antique idiots protecting their money! They suck!

    However, keep in mind that the source really doesn't matter here, except to help ensure bashing. If I were your neighbor and I knew that you were constantly breaking the terms of your service and reported you 18 times for it, and the ISP could verify the violations, it would probably generate similar actions against your account.

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