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posted by martyb on Saturday September 12 2015, @12:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the unacceptable-acceptable-use-policies dept.

Is it just me or have ISP (Internet Service Provider) terms and conditions gotten a lot more one-sided about what you can't do and what they can do?

I was considering switching to the new Vodafone Connect broadband and phone service as there are some nice discounts for existing Vodafone customers (and I've had enough of BT's high prices for FTTC) but reading through the text of their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) has caused me to think again. I'm sure a lot of the text in the agreement is fairly standard, and to be honest it's been a while since I switched providers, but some of these terms seem rather overreaching. For example:

2.7. You must not use the Vodafone Connect Services to access, download, send, receive, store, distribute, transmit, upload or in any way deal with material or data that we deem:

i. to be offensive, threatening, defamatory, racist, abusive, harassing, invasive of privacy, obscene, harmful, indecent or menacing;

Those words cover one hell of a lot of territory... sorry, did you deem my use of the "H" word offensive? What if I'm in a private chat with a friend and he calls me a "####" so I tell him to "#### off"? Use your imagination, we could be covering offensive, abusive, obscene and indecent right there (if not more).

Further on there's a section titled "Actions we may take" (where "we" is Vodafone) and this one really got my attention:

[More after the break...]

4.1. We may, at our sole discretion, run manual or automatic systems and monitoring in order to ensure that you remain compliant with the terms of this AUP at all times (for example we may scan for open mail relays, or open proxy servers). By accessing the internet via our Vodafone Connect Services you are deemed to have granted us permission to access and monitor your computer systems and networks.

So just by using their service I've given permission for them to access and monitor all my systems and networks! Well, given that they bought Cable & Wireless they do have a history of working closely within the surveillance system. Funny though, that they deem it acceptable to "access and monitor" my systems when earlier in the AUP it states:

2.11. Without the explicit permission of the relevant operators you may not run "scanning" software which accesses remote machines, networks or other computer systems.

Of course, they've got the usual "we can change this document at any time without explicitly telling you, and continuing use of the service means you agreed to any new conditions we've set" (See section 1.3) and finally you better not ever get a virus (goodbye Windows users):

2.13.You must ensure that your computer systems and network are not configured in such a way that others are able to exploit them in order to disrupt the internet or any other third party network. This includes but is not limited to ensuring that your network cannot be exploited as an open mail relay, open proxy server, or as a component of a wider network used in denial, or distributed denial of service attacks by third parties.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:09PM (#235564)

    You're dealing with stuff all the time, IP lawyers from some corporation call you, or law enforcement or the media, and want to know what you're doing about some particular instance of

    • spammers
    • malware artists
    • people hosting web sites serving other people's copyrighted materials
    • people hosting web sites advocating KKK, ISIS, or overthrowing the government
    • stalkers sending dozens of anonymous harassing messages to their neighbor's teenage kid
    • kiddie porn, fences for stolen goods, people exchanging stolen sexts, etc

    So before you say, "Well, they shouldn't do that", tell us what YOU would do if you were the senior manager at the ISP.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:19PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:19PM (#235568) Homepage Journal

    I'll tell you what I would do. Not a damned thing. I keep no logs, I don't track customers, I don't help law enforcement or corporations to snoop - nothing like that.

    It's a free country.

    Imagine, when I was in business, I forced customers to sign an agreement that they wouldn't do anything under the roof I built, or between the walls I built, that I didn't approve of. Imagine that. Hell, CHILDREN have been CONCEIVED under the roofs that I have built! Just IMAGINE THAT!

    If you provide a service, rather than a product, then just shut the hell up, and provide the service. And, remember who signs your paycheck. The customers.

    --
    Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:37PM (#235575)

      Think again. Remember, your company depends on government for a lot of things, access rights and permission to dig up busy city streets and stuff like that. (I'm talking about major ISPs, not two-bit bandwidth resellers). You're also hoping that the FCC and/or Congress don't blow you out of the water with new regulations and changes in tax laws. You can't just do whatever the hell you want with "your property", like a hillbilly farmer sitting on his porch with a shotgun.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:30PM (#235623)

        How does that boot heel taste? You seem like the person that has rolled over for enough people that you have friction burn scars on your back. Just because you lack a spine does not mean that no one is allowed to stand up for themselves.

        What the ISP is doing, and what you are advocating, IS ILLEGAL. ISPs can no longer filter traffic based on source or destination. That includes proxies, servers, and everything else under the sun. Contracts that do not have a negotiable outcome are not valid either.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:28PM (#235652)

          How does that boot heel taste? You seem like the person that has rolled over for enough people that you have friction burn scars on your back

          Thanks, Mr Trump! Love your show!

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @02:57PM (#235578)

      Hell, CHILDREN have been CONCEIVED under the roofs that I have built! Just IMAGINE THAT!

      Missionary position, with the lights out I hope!.

      How would you like to find out you were conceived doggy-style in a threesome? Makes my blood run cold...

    • (Score: 2) by http on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:30PM

      by http (1920) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:30PM (#235622)

      ...and when you get RBL'd from a customer running an open relay, all your other customers will be calling you up about your very full and backlogged mail queue. Your lack of logs will let them figure out in time that you don't know what the fuck you're doing and don't intend to fix the service they paid for, and they will take their money elsewhere.

      Shiva H. Vishnu, your trolls used to be plausible, Run.

      --
      I browse at -1 when I have mod points. It's unsettling.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:34PM (#235624)

        If you really think an average ISP customer even knows what a log is outside of a piece of dead wood on the ground, you really need to go sit on one and contemplate your life decisions until you return to reality.

        • (Score: 2) by http on Monday September 14 2015, @09:23PM

          by http (1920) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 14 2015, @09:23PM (#236444)

          I don't think that about average ISP customers, and I didn't suggest that they know any such thing.

          --
          I browse at -1 when I have mod points. It's unsettling.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:00PM (#235645)

        The ability to fix technical problems is less important than protecting people's privacy. Taking that position is not trolling.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:38PM (#235653)

    Yep, all seems reasonable. Having run an ISP many moons ago, and having written very similar points into our user agreement, I assure you that it's mostly about liability.

    2.7 Keep in mind that, for example, the definition of "obscene" in a legal document is what a judge would deem violates your country's obscenity laws, not simply what would make your grandma upset.

    4.1 If your service doesn't allow you to run your own internet accessible mail and web servers, they need to verify on occasion.

    2.11 Don't do black hat stuff from here.

    2.13 If you can't keep your stuff secure, you'll be cut off. See Antivaxxers.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:57PM (#235662)

    You've missed the point entirely. The examples you cite are all violations of existing laws, or close enough to violations that an easy argument could be made in a court of law. Vodafone's AUP covers a range of behaviors that, aside from potentially being libelous or being a secondary indication of potential law violation (while not being primary evidence of said violation), are all examples of free speech. The AUP borders on "social justice warriorism".

    The sentiment of the AUP smacks of someone who has seen far too much of the raw stream of sewage that is the Internet, and then decides to take the law into their own hands, in some misguided attempt to skirt potential liability. Those who misguidedly purchase services from Vodafone with this AUP deserve neither liberty nor security.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:28PM (#235698)

    people hosting web sites advocating [...] or overthrowing the government

    Is it always wrong to advocate for the overthrow of all governments?

    You've dishonoured yourself by lumping together two opposites. You said "advocating ISIS" and then you said "overthrowing the government". In many places, people doing the opposite are heroes. That is, "advocating for the elimination of ISIS" and "advocating for the overthrow of criminal governments".

    Who are you working for? Are you a propagandist for a criminal government?

    Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it?
    --Tyler Durden