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posted by janrinok on Monday September 15 2014, @10:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-they-have-to-prove-that-you-are-doing-something-illegal-first? dept.

Business Insider reports that multiple users of anonymous web browser Tor have reported that Comcast has threatened to cut off their internet service unless they stop using the software. Comcast has reportedly begun telling users that it is an "illegal service." One Comcast representative, identified only as Kelly, warned a customer over his use of Tor software: "Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules." In a statement to Deepdotweb, Comcast defended its actions, seemingly asserting that it needs to be able to monitor internet traffic in case they receive a court order:

We respect customer privacy and security and would only investigate the specifics of a customer’s account with a valid court order. And if we’re asked by a court to provide customer information, then we ask for a reasonable amount of time to notify the customer so they can decide if they would like to hire a lawyer and if they do, then we turn the case over to them and they proceed with the judge directly and we step away.

24 hours later, and Comcast denies that it will cut off Tor users, or , as the article sub-title reads: "The Web Browser For Criminals". Comcast further claim that they have initiated an internal review to find out why the Comcast employee made the statement in the first instance. They state:

Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website or use it however they wish otherwise. Like virtually all ISPs, Comcast has an acceptable use policy or AUP that outlines appropriate and inappropriate uses of the service. Comcast doesn’t monitor users’ browser software or web surfing and has no program addressing the Tor browser. The anecdotal chat room evidence provided is not consistent with our agents’ messages and is not accurate. Per our own internal review, we have found no evidence that these conversations took place, nor do we employ a Security Assurance team member named Kelly. Tor’s own FAQs clearly state: 'File sharing (peer-to-peer/P2P) is widely unwanted on Tor' and 'BitTorrent is NOT anonymous' on Tor.

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15 2014, @10:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15 2014, @10:37PM (#93694)

    it needs to be able to monitor internet traffic in case they receive a court order

    Hear that? They're asking to be classified as Common Carriers so they no longer have to worry about this inconvenient, expensive burden!

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by lentilla on Tuesday September 16 2014, @05:08AM

    by lentilla (1770) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @05:08AM (#93851)

    it needs to be able to monitor internet traffic in case they receive a court order

    Funny, that happens to be the same reason I encrypt everything.

    I am not a criminal and; as such; my private communications remain my own business. I do not intend to make it easy to find those "six lines" [wikiquote.org] in all the millions I write in my lifetime.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:19PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:19PM (#94096) Journal

      Monitoring internet traffic will consistently catch the small-fry and very rarely catch any big fish. What monitoring internet traffic does do, is invade the privacy of hundreds of millions of Americans. When this kind of thing comes up, I always remember the quote from Benjamin Franklin. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." It probably sticks in my mind, because a variation of the quote is used in Sid Meier's Civilization IV. Civilization II was a timeless classic, but Civilization was a great replacement. Perhaps, if only in part that Sid Meier got Leonard Nimoy to do the quotations.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:22PM

        by Freeman (732) on Tuesday September 16 2014, @04:22PM (#94099) Journal

        ..."Civilization IV" was a great replacement...

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"