An Anonymous Coward writes:
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.
...to be able to cancel anyone, at any time, for a cooked-up reason...
Were that their desire, could they not use phraseology such as "Vodofone reserves the right to discontinue service at any time, for any reason or no reason, at its sole discretion, at which time a pro-rated refund will be made"?
They don't want to give a refund, and they must at least pretend the person they kicked out did something wrong so they don't make it too clear that their monopoly uis against the public interest.
Because in that case they'd have to give you a refund. If they say you're breaking some terms of service they agreed to then why would they pay you your money back?
I think its the same psychology as those TV ads for "Senior Care Life Insurance" where some pitchman is blathering about "just three easy health questions", and that "nobody will be turned down."
Sure, nobody will be turned away from sending in the monthly premium. The TV head did not lie on this aspect of the bargain.
However, when the payout day comes, will the company honor their end? I get the terribly strong idea they will not.
I believe the whole purpose of those "three easy health questions" is to give a basis for denying payout.
The insurance company has lawyers. You don't. You paid all those premiums. Neither you nor your loved ones may see a dime of it.
I have already experienced the "peace of mind" coming from being "insured" with a dental plan. Only the cheap stuff is covered. The instant I needed a crown, it was full price to me. All I ended up doing by being "insured" was paying the salaries of building-fulls of desk-hens flitting back and forth over who has paid their premium and is eligible for a covered service - something cheap and routine like an exam, x-ray, or cleaning.
Sure, they say you get "coverage" for the big stuff, but its all business-talk, like those free "healthcare discount cards" the business-head hawks on TV. Sounds good, but has so much business-talk tangled up in it that is is useless.
I would have been far better off just paying the dentist directly.
I have to agree with those above me that all this business-talk is CYA for letting the business completely off the liability hook for failing to provide contracted-for service.