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The Five Levels of ISP Evil 243

schwit1 writes "Recently a number of ISPs have been caught improperly redirecting end-user traffic in order to generate affiliate payments, using a system from Paxfire. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Paxfire and one of the ISPs. This is a serious allegation, but it's the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if everyone understands the levels of sneakiness that service providers can engage in."
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The Five Levels of ISP Evil

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2011 @04:19PM (#37080812)

    How about, instead of something nebulous like points, we describe an ISP's level of evil by the number of years in prison an individual hacker would get if they got caught doing the things these corporations do to traffic passing through systems they control.

  • by xkr ( 786629 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @04:36PM (#37080900)

    I would like to make it clear that NO ORGANIZATION need respond to a subpoena without a fight. There are a thousand ways that a public or private entity can get a subpoena issued for your private information. Basically, a party simply asks the court to issue one, and the court does. The receiver or other "affected parties" have every right to object to the subpoena and demand a hearing. For example, an ISP could insist on a suitable delay in order to inform the user of the subpoena and give the user the time and information necessary to fight the subpoena. If, after a hearing, the court finds the subpoena valid, it will issue a "court order," that had better be followed, or the recipient can be charged with contempt of court.

    ISPs, banks, and other organization regularly roll over when issued subpoenas, coughing up all the customer's information without giving the customer the opportunity to respond and object. The underlying issue might be a nasty divorce, an evil contractor, a whiny neighbor, or a gov't employee fishing for glory. Most large organizations have some small print in their terms of use or account contract that says that the customer gives up the right to question subpoenas and that the organization will obey subpoenas no matter who they are from without first warning the customer.

    I know personally of one organization that holds private customer data and simply ignores all subpoenas. They have received hundreds over the years, but not a single court order. So those lawyer types and account PR people who say they "have to" obey subpoenas are not telling the (whole) truth.

    Note that attorneys and medical provides have "special rules" protecting client information. Funny how that works, huh?

    For people who care about privacy, many of us would pay a bit extra for service from an organization that promises to put our interests first.

    Disclaimers: (1) IANAL, so by definition, "this is not legal advice." Consult your attorney. (2) Some subpoenas require secrecy, and there are homeland defense subpoenas that are different, but these types are actually rare.

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @06:48PM (#37081518)

    Open ANY history book that looks at more then a few years of history. Start reading. You'll find that regardless of the focus of said book, one thing will always be a constant: the never ending cycle of concentrating power in fewer and fewer hands, followed by bloody revolution that redistributes power into much larger amount of hands, following by once again concentrating the power in the hands of a few.

    This is a constant for human society from tribal ages. We're talking tens of thousands years at LEAST. The form that power takes has been changing over time, but the way it works, the way it's used and the way it's distributed has not. To break this cycle, you'd need a completely new sociological approach - something humanity has not been able to develop throughout its history, and not for a lack of trying. I think 100:1 for status quo is a very safe bet here, and even something in realm of 10000:1 would still be pretty safe seeing just how little we have progressed in terms of actual sociological basis for our thinking from stone age. Bloodless wealth redistribution revolutions largely do not work simply because those in power will be willing to shed blood to keep the power.

    Essentially your only real claim is that we're simply not at the point where it would benefit enough people to revolt, and here we will easily agree - the real argument here would be that we've passed the crossroads where we could try something new instead of the cycle as there is now enough power in few enough hands to render further concentration of power unstoppable in practice.

    Your claim doesn't really address the cycle of concentration of power, nor the inevitable bloody redistribution once the critical point is passed. It only claims that we're not beyond the point where revolution becomes easily visible. In this regard, USA is no different then hundreds of other empires that existed throughout the history.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972