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-   -   [Ars] CenturyLink blocked its customers’ Internet access in order to show an ad (https://www.overclock.net/forum/349-technology-science-news/1716188-ars-centurylink-blocked-its-customersa-internet-access-order-show-ad.html)

tpi2007 12-18-2018 07:29 AM

[Ars] CenturyLink blocked its customers’ Internet access in order to show an ad
 
Quote:

CenturyLink briefly disabled the Internet connections of customers in Utah last week and allowed them back online only after they acknowledged an offer to purchase filtering software.

CenturyLink falsely claimed that it was required to do so by a Utah state law that says ISPs must notify customers "of the ability to block material harmful to minors." In fact, the new law requires only that ISPs notify customers of their filtering software options "in a conspicuous manner"; it does not say that the ISPs must disable Internet access until consumers acknowledge the notification. The law even says that ISPs may make the notification "with a consumer's bill," which shouldn't disable anyone's Internet access.

Source.


ISPs should never be able to hijack and effectively block people's Internet connection to show ads or anything else for that matter because not only can it disrupt potentially critical operations (like calling emergency services over VoIP landlines), but also because in general it goes over the line and throws all security precautions out of the window. How can people tell if they've been hacked otherwise when ISPs start to resort to the same pop-up and blocking what you're doing tactics?

Namwons 12-18-2018 07:58 AM

Lawsuit Inc. If the FTC doesn't do anything about this one, seems net neutrality really is dead and the FTC is powerless to stop them.

Aemonn 12-18-2018 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27765366)
Source.


ISPs should never be able to hijack and effectively block people's Internet connection to show ads or anything else for that matter because not only can it disrupt potentially critical operations (like calling emergency services over VoIP landlines), but also because in general it goes over the line and throws all security precautions out of the window. How can people tell if they've been hacked otherwise when ISPs start to resort to the same pop-up and blocking what you're doing tactics?

What's more, if I pay for a service you should NEVER intentionally disable that service for any reason other than I didn't keep up with my payments, or routine maintenance.

SuperZan 12-18-2018 08:18 AM

So you're saying that some of the replies in the 'Internet speeds still increasing in the US' thread declaring the net neutrality debate a load of nonsense were in fact premature?

Colour me surprised.

white owl 12-18-2018 08:33 AM

I'm more angry about the attack on porn.
https://media.giphy.com/media/WY4WNWUo0s3jW/giphy.gif


Really though, I can't imagine why they'd block their services until you acknowledged something people should already know. Utah is a weird place.

AgentHydra 12-18-2018 11:43 AM

There were clearly better ways for them to do this, but it's more than a little sensationalist to call a consumer notice mandated by state legislation an "ad" (IMO).

UltraMega 12-18-2018 12:41 PM

If I were a century link customer id be canceling right now.

Imglidinhere 12-18-2018 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraMega (Post 27765734)
If I were a century link customer id be canceling right now.


What if that's the only ISP you have access to? For some people, most in fact, it's not really an option.

Kiros 12-18-2018 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraMega (Post 27765734)
If I were a century link customer id be canceling right now.

Sadly when one cancels you'd get slapped with a cancellation fee/contract termination fee as well as up to an additional month of service before a technician comes to your house/apartment to shut it down.

Google needs to hurry up with their fiber network.

Asmodian 12-18-2018 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kiros (Post 27765804)
Google needs to hurry up with their fiber network.

This! I live in San Jose, near Google headquarters, and I will probably never get fiber, probably because Comcast owns San Jose (they probably bribed, oops, I mean donated to the campaign of, the right people). Don't they want their employees to have reasonable internet access too? :(

tpi2007 12-18-2018 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AgentHydra (Post 27765672)
There were clearly better ways for them to do this, but it's more than a little sensationalist to call a consumer notice mandated by state legislation an "ad" (IMO).


If you read the law and read the ISP's notice you'll realise that it's an ad. This ISP decided to purchase Norton's services for the filtering (amongst other things, see the link at the end of the post), so they are advertising Norton. Also, according to the law the ISP may charge consumers a "commercially reasonable fee" for the filtering service (and they are in this case) if the consumer decides to go with the ISP's offer, but the ISP can also comply with the law simply by informing consumers that a third party filtering service exists that can get the job done for the purposes of the law. And of course, the law doesn't forbid the ISP of informing consumers about more than one third party filtering solution so that consumers have a reasonable panorama of available options, the law only mandates the minimum of one for the purposes of the ISPs not being fined for not complying.

So yes, what they did was an ad, even more so since they are in a commercial relationship with Norton to provide the filtering (see here).

Sir Beregond 12-18-2018 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltraMega (Post 27765734)
If I were a century link customer id be canceling right now.

And go where....Comcast? Only other option here...

delerious 12-18-2018 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27766020)
If you read the law and read the ISP's notice you'll realise that it's an ad. This ISP decided to purchase Norton's services for the filtering (amongst other things, see the link at the end of the post), so they are advertising Norton. Also, according to the law the ISP may charge consumers a "commercially reasonable fee" for the filtering service (and they are in this case) if the consumer decides to go with the ISP's offer, but the ISP can also comply with the law simply by informing consumers that a third party filtering service exists that can get the job done for the purposes of the law. And of course, the law doesn't forbid the ISP of informing consumers about more than one third party filtering solution so that consumers have a reasonable panorama of available options, the law only mandates the minimum of one for the purposes of the ISPs not being fined for not complying.

So yes, what they did was an ad, even more so since they are in a commercial relationship with Norton to provide the filtering (see here).

The law also didn't mandate shutting off service until the customer acknowledged receipt as evidenced by other ISPs sending an email and/or putting the notice on their bill. I wonder how many people were duped into believing they needed to purchase said offer (which appears to be the entire point).

Catscratch 12-18-2018 10:49 PM

When officials consider internet as water and electricity, some things will stay and get better.

Omega X 12-18-2018 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Namwons (Post 27765392)
Lawsuit Inc. If the FTC doesn't do anything about this one, seems net neutrality really is dead and the FTC is powerless to stop them.




FTC powerless? No. FTC slow? Yes. If they find grounds, CenturyLink will get fined...months from now.

7thOmen 12-19-2018 05:45 AM

Why are 'we' mad at CenturyTel? Why are 'we' NOT mad at the fact that there needs to be another law that reduces and/or replaces parents responsibilities? How about we take accountability for our own actions instead of allowing the creation of some nanny state?


"Uncle Sam, mah kids found teh pron! Oh, heavens me, please do somethin' so I don't have to and let me get back to my self-centered life, puhleeease!"


Tragic...


Omen

tpi2007 12-19-2018 07:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by delerious (Post 27766220)
The law also didn't mandate shutting off service until the customer acknowledged receipt as evidenced by other ISPs sending an email and/or putting the notice on their bill. I wonder how many people were duped into believing they needed to purchase said offer (which appears to be the entire point).


And what's more, what are the chances that it wasn't the parents who saw the notice and quickly clicked "OK" to get rid of it and thus the parents never saw it? It's ridiculous. The most effective way to communicate this would be by putting it next to the bill. Because parents do see - and pay - the bills.



Quote:

Originally Posted by 7thOmen (Post 27766656)
Why are 'we' mad at CenturyTel? Why are 'we' NOT mad at the fact that there needs to be another law that reduces and/or replaces parents responsibilities? How about we take accountability for our own actions instead of allowing the creation of some nanny state?


"Uncle Sam, mah kids found teh pron! Oh, heavens me, please do somethin' so I don't have to and let me get back to my self-centered life, puhleeease!"


Tragic...


Omen


The law simply mandates that parents be informed that there are filtering options available. It doesn't make anybody do anything or purchase anything, and if anything it makes parents alert to the technical possibilities that are available to them to assist them in their parenting, because not everybody who uses the Internet is tech savvy to know this from the start. So, I don't understand how you think that this law "reduces and/or replaces parents responsibilities".

7thOmen 12-19-2018 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27766726)
The law simply mandates that parents be informed that there are filtering options available. It doesn't make anybody do anything or purchase anything, and if anything it makes parents alert to the technical possibilities that are available to them to assist them in their parenting, because not everybody who uses the Internet is tech savvy to know this from the start. So, I don't understand how you think that this law "reduces and/or replaces parents responsibilities".


Laws and rules like this become a substitute for parents doing their due diligence in child rearing.
Twenty years ago, I would agree that there were was little to no choice for content filtering. Things have changed since then. A mother or father can inquire with their peers at work, their IT department, on Facebook, perform their own simple web searches, etc., etc. There is a multitude of resources available for unsavvy members of our species.

Now 'we' have to have laws or (FCC) rules created because parents can't or won't be bothered with their duties and obligations to their children.
Hence, my sarcasm in quotes.


Omen

tpi2007 12-19-2018 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 7thOmen (Post 27766772)
Laws and rules like this become a substitute for parents doing their due diligence in child rearing.
Twenty years ago, I would agree that there were was little to no choice for content filtering. Things have changed since then. A mother or father can inquire with their peers at work, their IT department, on Facebook, perform their own simple web searches, etc., etc. There is a multitude of resources available for unsavvy members of our species.

Now 'we' have to have laws or (FCC) rules created because parents can't or won't be bothered with their duties and obligations to their children.
Hence, my sarcasm in quotes.


Omen


Again, this law isn't meant to be a substitute of anything, go read it, it just institutes a legal obligation on the ISP's part to inform parents that there are options available for something that they may deem useful in their parenting. That's it. Nothing more. It's just to provide information.

You still inherently possess too much of an "IT view" of the world, where just about everybody should know how to formulate the question of whether there is a technical way to filter certain websites from loading. Laws are made for everybody, including people who need to use computers but are very 'analogue' about it, and those that don't have "peers at work" because they are self-employed, nor work for a mid-large company that has anything resembling an "IT department", and believe it or not, many people don't feel any need to have Facebook. Sometimes in order to know where to look, you need to be made aware that certain things exist. Then it becomes obvious. The law isn't replacing parents' responsibilities, it's just meant to inform them, give them more information, I don't really see what problem that entails.

7thOmen 12-19-2018 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27766788)
Again, this law isn't meant to be a substitute of anything, go read it, it just institutes a legal obligation on the ISP's part to inform parents that there are options available for something that they may deem useful in their parenting. That's it. Nothing more. It's just to provide information.

You still inherently possess too much of an "IT view" of the world, where just about everybody should know how to formulate the question of whether there is a technical way to filter certain websites from loading. Laws are made for everybody, including people who need to use computers but are very 'analogue' about it, and those that don't have "peers at work" because they are self-employed, nor work for a mid-large company that has anything resembling an "IT department", and believe it or not, many people don't feel any need to have Facebook. Sometimes in order to know where to look, you need to be made aware that certain things exist. Then it becomes obvious. The law isn't replacing parents' responsibilities, it's just meant to inform them, give them more information, I don't really see what problem that entails.


The bold. Why is it any obligation of the ISP to have to inform parents? Shouldn't the parents be liable for sourcing their own information? Where is the accountability?


Sadly, my view of the world has little to do with "IT view", but I digress. How hard is it to ask potentially knowledgeable people in any forum or venue about "how to prevent my children from seeing nudity and adult content on the internet" (at the risk of being cheeky, please note the lack of technicality in that)? Clearly the answer must be 'very', because laws/rules had to be created to ease the burden of asking such a seemingly difficult question. That begs the next question, "Why the difficulty?" Should not a parent be willing to give up life and limb to protect their children? What is different here? Perhaps my sarcastic quote (from my initial post) wasn't too far off the mark?



It is the fact that governments are asked to, or feel compelled to, create these rules and regulations to protect those who should (and could) be accountable for their own protections. If the rule was not created, there would not be a news post about CenturyTel angering people. 'We' do not need more rules, especially when common sense should dictate our course of actions.



The problem is the precedence that is set here. Eventually, thanks to rules and regulation such as this, parents will just come (continue?) to rely on 'the village' to raise their kids. This can not possibly be healthy for future generations.



Before the goal posts get moved, let us just stick to this solitary example.


Omen




Edited for clarity.

miklkit 12-19-2018 10:05 AM

It's Utah. This is what they want for all of us. The Salem Witch Hunts will be back in vogue if they have their way.

tpi2007 12-19-2018 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 7thOmen (Post 27766942)
Spoiler!


But parents are liable and accountable just like they always were, the law doesn't change one iota about that, you still seem to be putting words and intentions in the law that simply aren't there and with that you're making a big deal out of nothing. If a future law becomes intrusive or nanny state like, then I'll agree with you, but this is just providing information that the parents are 100% free to do what they want with it, including nothing, and said information could have been accomplished with a single sentence on a single monthly bill if it weren't for this particular ISP to mess it up due to their commercial interests in the specific Norton package offer.

7thOmen 12-19-2018 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27767004)
But parents are liable and accountable just like they always were, the law doesn't change one iota about that, you still seem to be putting words and intentions in the law that simply aren't there and with that you're making a big deal out of nothing. If a future law becomes intrusive or nanny state like, then I'll agree with you, but this is just providing information that the parents are 100% free to do what they want with it, including nothing, and said information could have been accomplished with a single sentence on a single monthly bill if it weren't for this particular ISP to mess it up due to their commercial interests in the specific Norton package offer.


Fair enough.


Although your first sentence shows me how dire this issue truly is.


A couple of things have become clear to me; that there does not seem to be a way for me to articulate my thought process in a manner you can understand, and that OCN is not the correct forum for me to attempt to pursue clarity.


I pass the Conch to you for any final words as I am finished with this.


Omen

mothergoose729 12-20-2018 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 7thOmen (Post 27766656)
Why are 'we' mad at CenturyTel? Why are 'we' NOT mad at the fact that there needs to be another law that reduces and/or replaces parents responsibilities? How about we take accountability for our own actions instead of allowing the creation of some nanny state?


"Uncle Sam, mah kids found teh pron! Oh, heavens me, please do somethin' so I don't have to and let me get back to my self-centered life, puhleeease!"


Tragic...


Omen

More ludicrous still is the fear of sex in the first place. Violent or degrading porn is one thing, but what way do teenagers need to be protected from graphic sex?

Quote:

Originally Posted by tpi2007 (Post 27767004)
But parents are liable and accountable just like they always were, the law doesn't change one iota about that, you still seem to be putting words and intentions in the law that simply aren't there and with that you're making a big deal out of nothing. If a future law becomes intrusive or nanny state like, then I'll agree with you, but this is just providing information that the parents are 100% free to do what they want with it, including nothing, and said information could have been accomplished with a single sentence on a single monthly bill if it weren't for this particular ISP to mess it up due to their commercial interests in the specific Norton package offer.

It's a legislative bazooka to tackle what is objectively a non issue. There is already software available to filter internet content on a local network, that would be just as ineffective and silly as what the ISP is offering here.

xJumper 12-20-2018 12:42 PM

So how exactly did they do this? Some kind of DNS proxy setup in their router/modem package? All the more reason to not use ISP provided hardware.

My ISP had something like that setup so I had to agree to a bunch of terms and stuff before I could use the internet, I just VPN'ed past their DNS proxy and was able to use the net for like a month until I found the time to read it all, agree and sign.

New green 12-20-2018 01:17 PM

Weapons of psychological warfare are a means to use communication technology to sway public opinion.

I see nothing wrong with Utah’s state law that informs parents about available tools that they can use as they see fit.

I see everything wrong with deactivating a service to promote an advertisement in this manner.

rbarrett96 12-26-2018 06:36 AM

"Lawsuit Inc. If the FTC doesn't do anything about this one, seems net neutrality really is dead and the FTC is powerless to stop them."



The FTC has never had any power. They don't make laws.

Asmodian 12-31-2018 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xJumper (Post 27768750)
So how exactly did they do this? Some kind of DNS proxy setup in their router/modem package? All the more reason to not use ISP provided hardware.

My ISP had something like that setup so I had to agree to a bunch of terms and stuff before I could use the internet, I just VPN'ed past their DNS proxy and was able to use the net for like a month until I found the time to read it all, agree and sign.

They don't need any hardware on your end of the connection. They control the hardware your router plugs into so of course they can do whatever they want to your traffic, no matter what hardware you use at home.

This blocks the VPN as well, they cannot spy on or inject data into the VPN traffic but your VPN client doesn't get the expected response from whoever you connect to, because the ISP is injecting the ad instead of letting the response from the VPN server through. Your VPN connection goes down and you cannot connect to a VPN again before acknowledging the ad so they let your normal traffic through.


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