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Verizon might kill free Wi-Fi

  • I don't have Verizon (I have AT&T), but it seems like these two carriers are trying to screw the American public right under our nose. After all the SOPA talk from last year, this goes completely against the idea of a free and open Internet:

    "AT&T's plan is to block access to frequently visited sites. Time Warner will constantly redirect you to a landing page. Verizon will plans to reduce connection speeds to the snail pace of 256kbps.

    Verizon has confirmed that its "six strikes" plan will apply to businesses, not just personal accounts. That means the cafe down the street may end up with essentially unusable WiFi if even one customer abuses the system -- and even terminate their accounts entirely."

    What is that, a Titleist? A hole in one...

  • I'm not worried. Google or some other innovative company will come up with something.

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  • Google Fiber is the next big thing.

    What is that, a Titleist? A hole in one...

  • I don't care a whole lot for using "free and open internet" or any other ideology as justification for things. But if the ISP terms are unlimited internet, then they need to provide unlimited internet, regardless of how many users are on the property, or call it something else. You can't sell a product then get mad at people for using it.

    Edit: Okay, I misunderstood what this was about due to the headline stressing the indirect consequences. Oh yeah, and this made me remember what free and open even meant. So I retract that part. But do private companies need to adhere to net neutrality? Do we need free speech on a private message board? These are difficult questions.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by Dolph Ziggler 15 months ago

    http://www.silentlapse.com

  • Goud21

    Ok, explain what this is saying as if I know nothing about computers (not true, but after reading multiple pages I clicked through to this article, I'm slightly confused).

    Basically, if you're downloading copyrighted material and your IP address is reported to your ISP, you will be given warnings and eventually the plan is to slow down your internet speed to a snails pace (256 kbps is the reported number), not mention blocking your IP address from certain websites and forcing you to take an online course in copyright infringement to access the websites you've been banned from by your ISP.

    Is this saying that some idiot at Starbucks (Beaners, Panera, etc, etc) can slow down the internet for all users in the store since the IP address will be pegged as an offender?

    If you aren't downloading copyrighted materials (movie torrents, illegal music downloads, etc,etc) this should have no effect on home internet service, correct?

    And if the good Lord’s willin’, I’m a keep on chillin’, refillin’ and flyin’ high

  • From what I understand, one person can ruin things for everyone else by abusing Internet use in a public setting -- or at least that is what companies like Verizon are proposing. The issue is the legality of what these ISPs want to do to the paying customers. For one, most people wouldn't even realize they are being warned because they have other email addresses aside from the ones assigned by Verizon and AT&T (like GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.). Second, for these companies to do this, it's about on the same level of illegal wire tapping. They would have to be looking at your computer and what you are downloading, uploading, and using their ISP for.

    From what I have read on tech sites and on Reddit, this "six strikes" program probably won't go through because it does not abide the contract between the ISP's and the customers who pay money for it. It hurts their business for one thing because people could just switch services (see Google Fiber), and the companies are abusing their own power.

    The major problem I see is that these billion dollar corporations aren't up to date with how the world works, and that in itself is quite sad. Go back to the days when Napster became huge, there wasn't that much else to use. But over 10 years later, it is obvious that if people want something, they will get it anyway they want. The services are endless, from torrents to MP3 downloads to movie downloads to live streaming to things like First Row Sports playing games via an Internet connection. These companies aren't adapting and are living in a past model of governing that doesn't work in 2013.

    I'm no tech genius in the least, but I have followed this stuff for a few years now because of sheer interest and how the Internet has changed drastically.

    What is that, a Titleist? A hole in one...

  • There are likely a lot of legal hang ups on this, but I suppose they can start it and then just wait for people to challenge it.

    For example, how do the ISP's notify people? If they just send it to the e-mail address that the ISP gives you, can that possibly stand up in court? I have AT&T for my home internet. I don't even know how to log into the e-mail address that they gave me with that (I tried once, and it's different login information than checking my billing. I've been told that they send e-mails to this address when you're over the limits that they imposed a little while back, but I have no idea if I've ever gone over that.

    I also have an issue with the whole idea of going after the end users. Isn't copyright law about copying and distribution? The FBI/ICE warning at the beginning of DVDs mention nothing about a violation of any laws to be viewing the video. Hypothetically, if I'm watching a movie on a free streaming site, as the viewer, how do I know if that's a violation of copyright law? How do I know if the site that I'm watching it on has or does not have the rights to distribute it? Maybe they buy the rights and pay for it through the ads on the site?

  • Goud21

    I do think there's a big difference between streaming a video online and downloading it for your own personal use. The streaming sites run into issues as "hosts" of the copyright material. It's more on them then on the person viewing the material. Now, when you start downloading it to your own hard drive, it becomes a much bigger issue for you on your end.

    And if the good Lord’s willin’, I’m a keep on chillin’, refillin’ and flyin’ high

  • Goud21

    I guess on this issue you'd actually have to look into the terms of service when you connect at certain free wifi hotspots (as it applies to public locations, not home internet usage). I know Panera and Starbucks (two places I frequent when on the road for work) both make you check a box and agree to terms of services when using their internet. I've never bothered to read these at all, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them, in the future, mention some sort of plan to track your internet activity to find offenders if their ISP is causing them issues with the wifi services they offer their customers.

    Of course, I have no idea how easy this is to do for them, but I could see them doing something along those lines to track specific offenders.

    And if the good Lord’s willin’, I’m a keep on chillin’, refillin’ and flyin’ high

  • Verizon has always tried to block wi-fi. They wouldnt even allow their devices to have wi-fi unlocked until they got the iphone.

    I got sick of their crap and left. Went with Straight Talk, bought a att galaxy 2 off of ebay and now I get everything a ATT customer has (apps, towers, voicemail) with unlimited everything for 40 bucks a month.

  • If I decided to go to starbucks and torrent a bunch of movies right now it would be pretty damn hard to pinpoint me as the offender. The store is issued an IP address by their ISP and all activity is linked to that. Unless I visited sites that required you to log in to download there would be little to no information identifying me as the offender. You might check a box saying you'll abide by their terms but if there is no information linking you to the checking of said box it doesn't really matter.

    The store could potentially receive a nasty email from their ISP, if and only if, the copyright holder was watching the files I downloaded. As far as I know, ISPs will not track your movements on the internet unless they are forced to through legal action by the copyright holders. Usually they don't even GAF unless they see you as a repeat offender (ie. downloading hundreds of gigs of movies). There are just too many people doing things like this for ISPs to track your activity. There is no "big brother" watching your all your online activity... yet.

    Just realized that I'm slightly off-topic. Still relevant I suppose.

    This post was edited by groverj3 15 months ago

    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. I'm not too sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

  • I don't see how it makes a difference. Whether they're streaming it, or you're downloading it (most stuff on the free streaming sites can be downloaded, or so I've been told), the sites are the ones distributing copyrighted material, and the viewer/downloader doesn't necessarily know if they're doing so illegally, or if they're just as legit as iTunes or Netflix, but with an ad-supported business model.

    If you're downloading, the biggest legal issue might be if you're doing so with a torrent, because as you're downloading, you're also uploading to others, even if you're a leech and close the torrent client as soon as the download is completed, I think you'd technically be at least a partial distributor.

  • If you're downloading stuff at Starbucks, it's not that hard to pinpoint you as the offender at all. Your home router logs the MAC address of every computer that logs in, so you know Starbucks does that and then some. Tracking you down after the fact might a little more difficult, but I think that MAC addresses are on file the computer manufacturers. Savvy people can fake those, but then there are still camera footage to see who was there between the hours that a certain computer was logged in. They probably won't go to all that much trouble for most copyright infringement (as my early posts stated, the legality with the distributor, not the downloader), but Forbin couldn't feel safe there.

    As for the ISPs, they do care, but less about whether it's copyrighted, and more about how much bandwidth you're using (i.e., they'll care more about you copyright infringing on full HD movies than on music). They're always looking at reasons to choke your connection speed, so this gives them justification to choke the speed of some customers that tend to use a lot of bandwidth.

  • Goud21

    Well, if you're downloading, you'll eventually be in possession of illegal copyrighted material. If you're streaming the video without downloading the actual file, you're just viewing the illegal file that is in someone else's possession. There is a huge difference from a legal stand point between viewing an illegal copy of a movie and being in possession of said movie.

    And if the good Lord’s willin’, I’m a keep on chillin’, refillin’ and flyin’ high

  • Glad I have Sprint.

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    There's a time and a place for everything and it's called college.

  • The argument makes sense, but I'm not sure that's actually what the law says. In extreme cases, i.e. child porn, just looking at something is enough. I was pretty sure it was just as illegal to watch a pirated stream, but simply more difficult to enforce.

    signature image
  • Move to NYC.

    Google Brings Free Public WiFi to Its New Yor

    Tech giant Google announced Tuesday that it has begun offering free public WiFi internet access in the southwest Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, close to its mammoth headquarters.

    http://business.time.com/2013/01/09/google-brings-free-public-wifi-to-its-new-york-city-neighborhood/
  • Goud21

    Very true. I guess I don't know about the law specifically. I guess I just assumed it was more an issue to be in possession of the material than to be watching/listening to the material (movies, music, etc). It seems like those in possession are the ones the music and movie industry are after most of the time. You hardly ever hear of someone being arrested for viewing material that is copyrighted.

    And if the good Lord’s willin’, I’m a keep on chillin’, refillin’ and flyin’ high

  • How is the free enterprise of a company "screwing" the public when it imposes limits or raises prices? The Tea Partiers will defend this to the death, I would imagine....no government interference should be involved or allowed...except, I bet, when their ox is being gored.

  • How often do you hear about people who are arrested (and perhaps more importantly, convicted) of being in possession of music or movies without also distributing?

    Once downloaded, how can they tell if it was pirated, or if someone ripped their own copy and lost the CD/DVD? The only evidence there would be the download, and if they're watching your internet activity enough to prove something was downloaded (as opposed to ripped from your paid copy), then they can just as easily tell that it's been watched via a stream.

    The real question is whether or not it is truly illegal to possess/view pirated materials. And if so, isn't it necessary to prove that you KNEW that it was an unauthorized, pirated copy? I don't think sites come out and say that, so how does one know if a certain site has legally paid for the rights to stream/host the content? But is it actually illegal to possess/view the content? The FBI warning at the start of DVDs (at least what a quick google search brings up), mentions the violation of law if it is copied/distributed. I would think that it would also mention that viewing a pirated copy is also illegal, if that is the law. According to this story (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/dvds-and-blu-rays-will-now-carry-two-unskippable-government-warnings/), they have only just recently added a PSA of sorts about piracy, which is the closest that it comes to addressing simple possession/viewing of pirated works. Anyone know what the law actually says with regard to possessing/viewing/listening to pirated material? I'm probably off on this, but it seems like it would be included in the FBI warning. I still think there is plausible deniability in any possession charge like this. Not sure if that holds up in court, or is just reserved for politicians in a scandal, though.