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
    :), 2 Feb 2010 @ 12:56am

    Ways ISP logs get it wrong.

    Recently AT&T costumers found a new superpower they could log into other people accounts in many other services, and to this day AT&t doesn't know what did cause its routers to send people other peoples session cookies for unencrypted connections/services.


    Spoofing IP and MAC address is easy and anyone can do it if they know where to look for. you can even spoof your IP using ping but no grandma would know how to do it or at the very least very few grandma geeks exist today.

    Oversubscription is a good thing when is done with judgement but not at the levels done in the U.S., some very real problems that occur are high congestion rates and the need for more server to take load balancing duties this means simply that if someone spoof the MAC address from a router it won't show up at the node logs it could show up further on another node that got to help the other one with the traffic and this have some consequences, which connection is the real one? there is no easy way of knowing which of 2 address is the real one. More because of oversubscription a node is responsible for thousands of routers so the minimum resolution of something is in the thousands a very high number that is sure to cause very low detection rates that give very good cover to people abusing that system(crowd cover).

    Most P2P trackers are poisoning their own networks with fake IP address, where the clients black list those address after not receiving anything from them or receiving garbage, but for people who collect IP's there is no difference unless they go the extra mile and try to download something from that IP. No where people are forcing those accusing them to show how exactly did they collect that data and that is bad.

    Not to mention that faulty equipment can err. Databases get corrupted, humans failure, data entry errors etc.

    So QWEST wants to play hard ball that is fine as long as they assume the consequences of doing so in the future and that could mean a very long list of lawsuits that could range from defamation to negligent behaviour and everything in between.

    They did nothing to find a solution to the problem, they did nothing to trust the person.

    They could have changed the routers and her MAC address, to see if that solved the problem, they could have asked permission to install specialized software at the routers to see if someone was targeting her, They could have temporary tagged her traffic to see if it was true or not, they could have done a dozen things to ensure that that person was really telling the truth or not but they did nothing of the sort, instead they threatened an old lady and said without fear that they would ruin her good name so that she could not get anyone else services that should be actionable and a no brainier in court.

    The ISP did nothing and they are not obliged to do so, but to accuse and have no concrete evidence is just not acceptable and worst to act upon assumptions of guilty without real concrete evidence is just down right criminal.

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