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 @ 8:34pm

    Re:

    "Is trying to blacklist her probably overboard? Of course. But then again, it's probably nothing personal and just the end result of some rule in some company policy manual somewhere. There are always situations which need unique consideration which is robbed by blindly following company policies, but unfortunately the people who make the policies tend to not encounter these situations personally unless there's a lawsuit involved."

    Personally, I don't mind ISP's having (just about) any policy they want, PROVIDED (and this is KEY) the government doesn't in any way restrict competition. Unfortunately the government DOES restrict competition (ie: by granting cableco/telco monopolies) and as such the government SHOULD absolutely regulate company policy to some extent to ensure that due process is in order. The ISP's should not have it both ways, there should not be both government restrictions on competition AND no regulation to on company policy. Unregulated government restrictions on competition is not acceptable. In a FREE market if one ISP wants to cooperate with the MPAA/RIAA then I can easily switch to another.

    Also, that does not mean that the government should create laws punishing ISP's that don't cooperate with draconian IP laws and that don't cooperate with the MPAA/RIAA. That would violate the free market and as such if the government is to create such laws then they should also create laws that ensure customers are subject to due process.

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