Hugh Pickens writes:
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.
This stuff is why I wish he would quit doing this or at least reply to comments on both sites that he cross posts on. Anyway, hopefully this doesn't get out of hand and dilute the plethora of other instances of calling comcast out on its asshattery.
The story isn't over yet. So far we have a he-said she-said where neither side has a reliable reputation to judge on and both sides have incentive to lie - the accusations come from someone with no particular record and the denials come from a company with a terrible record and a big-money PR team.
I know. Why, think of the potential damage to the company's reputation!