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 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You need to learn how to think in logical steps, and not wild jumps.

    I explained why the metaphor used is faulty (ie, this is not physical theft, but mistaken identity), and you still can't figure it out.

    But let's assume, for a second, that we *HAVE* to stick with your weak metaphor. Think about it one step at a time and you'll still justify the actions taken:



    Let's say someone steals her car and uses it in a drive-by shooting, resulting in a capital murder. There's a photograph (ISP logs) connecting her car to scene the murder. Would the cops be wrong to show up at her door and take her into the station for questioning?

    So what would be the end result? They question her, she claims her car was stolen before hand, and some sort of evidence of this claim is substantiated before she's in the clear and they keep looking. Grandma lives, hurray!



    In this case, there's no obligation to see if grandma was shooting or not, as it is the ACCOUNT OWNER that is responsible via the traffic and terms of service, NOT the person. This is why this metaphor is so poor. They didn't come to grandma's house and destroy her ability to use the internet ever again anywhere, they disabled the account that was violating the policy. And where she had agreed to full responsibility for the actions of her account, there is no similar agreement with possession of a car (not to mention that the car isn't the thing responsible for the murder, but the gun is, so a hit-and-run would have made more sense).


    It's been cleared up. Grandma has her internet back (and an attorney, thanks to our sue-happy society) after they've concluded that she wasn't the one doing it. Network compromise was blamed and presumably grandma should have it fixed. In metaphorical terms, she was found not guilty and returns to the streets.



    People have their "identities stolen" (I fully agree that it ought to be called "bank robbery" and treated as such instead), very often, and the effects can literally destroy lives and cause major problems for the victims. But hey, who cares about that....this lady almost had her internet shut off due to a similar problem of stolen credentials that she helped create (by having an insecure network)

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