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Poll: Should your ISP have a say in what type of content you are uploading/downloading?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / August 12, 2011 9:47 AM PDT

Should your ISP have a say in what type of content you are uploading/downloading?

-- Yes. (Why?)
-- No. (Why?)
-- It depends. (On what?)
-- Don't care. (Why not?)

This poll was created in context to this discussion topic here:

Help! I was sent a copyright infringement notice from ISP

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ISPs are digital transportation services.

I pay my ISP to get me from one place to another in digital space. I pay a cab driver to get me from one place to another in physical space. The ISP has no more right to see, much less patrol what I carry in my communications than the cab driver does the inside of my luggage.

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re: ISPs are digital transportation services
by Inka43623 / August 12, 2011 1:53 PM PDT

But should you be allowed to break laws while riding in that cab? Don't get me wrong, I have done my share of downloads, but your ISP has little they can do other than forward on DMCA complaints that are sent on to them by the entertainment industry. They are not initiating these complaints.

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Not the issue.
by Dropmurphy / August 12, 2011 5:00 PM PDT

It's not the cabbie's place to be paying attention to what I'm doing, let alone policing it. If my suitcase in the trunk were full of cocaine, I'd even expect him to help unload it onto the cart at the airport. It's the authorities' responsibility to be tracking crime, and even actual authorities overstep their bounds to gather information for that purpose, but the ISPs have no authority. No more than the cabbie

If I got in the cab and TOLD the cabbie my suitcase was full of coke, that'd be a different story.

This is a privacy issue. The ISP doesn't need to, and SHOULDN'T know or even care what I'm sending or receiving in the "suitcases" it moves for me in the first place, legal or illegal. So how could they make any kind of judgment on it anyway? If they're getting complaints from the entertainment industry, an industry with no lawful authority to look at what I'm doing either, then the ISP should be more worried about keeping nosy people with no authority out of my "suitcases" than concerning themselves with the information given to them by an outsider whose integrity is already in question due to their unlawful invasion of my privacy while I was using their service, which they would've had to admit to doing in order to validate their claims to the ISP. How would they know what was in the "suitcase" otherwise? They'd have to prove it somehow. That "somehow" is illegal in itself and therefore suspect.

In the cab scenario, the cabbie isn't going to let someone run up to the trunk at a red light and crowbar the trunk open, then continue on into my suitcase to find out what's inside, only to then tell the cabbie what they found so he can kick me out of the cab for it. He also wouldn't stop the cab if someone not wearing a badge were yelling at them that my suitcase is full of cocaine.

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re: Not the issue
by Inka43623 / August 12, 2011 5:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Not the issue.

Your ISP doesn't really care what you are doing (to a point of course), they are not tracking what you download. The entertainment industry has tracked what you have downloaded and they send the DMCA complaint on to the cable company. It's the cable company's legal obligation to let you know that a complaint has been made on what you have illegally downloaded.

The cable company has no financial benefit in cutting off your service.

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Spot on
by tisraels / August 12, 2011 5:46 PM PDT
In reply to: re: Not the issue

You are totally correct! However, I'd like to add that the entertainment industry people (RIAA/MPAA/etc) do not track everything you download, in fact, they can only see what you upload, and even more specifically, torrents that you seed. Even then, they would have to go through many, many torrents to find every single IP seeding their content. This is why they "bait" highly seeded torrents; they look at it, an agent from the RIAA or other agency downloads the torrent, looks at the seeders and records the IP addresses seeding that torrent. Those are the people that get the Cease & Desist letters and have their traffic monitored. They are the people that have broken the law.

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Maybe the poll is worded strangely.
by Dropmurphy / August 13, 2011 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: re: Not the issue

The way I read the question was not about how the ISPs are currently handling traffic and monitoring, but asking whether they should be allowed to look at and judge your activity in the future should they decide they want to be able to, or the entertainment industry "encourages" them to.

If it's just about what the current system already is, and as such they're not monitoring your traffic anyway, then what is the discussion about?

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ISPs are digital transportation services
by maxonsolutions / December 1, 2013 1:39 PM PST
In reply to: re: Not the issue

I think the entertainment industry should first inform to you as it has tracked you. Or the send the copyright infringement email to the website from where you have downloaded the content.

Reporting to your ISP doesn't make any sense from my point of view. User of any ISP can download anything or whatever he likes.

User is paying for Internet services and he is paying his dues on time then ISP doesn't matter what you are downloading or uploading. I really don't think your ISP is tracking any thing.

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Who has the better right?
by ozvaleron / August 12, 2011 7:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Not the issue.

When you sign up with an ISP, you enter a contract specifically stating you will NOT engage in any illegal activities, and will indemnify the ISP for any damage they incur because of your illegal activities. Living in a free society does NOT give you the right to break the law.
One of the rights of a free society is privacy, one of the obligations, is you will comply with the law... not always easy to do - or even desirable!
Using the cabbie analogy, watch the movie "Collateral" - the cabbie is dragged into a nightmarish scenario where a hired assassin uses his cab to go around committing murder. As long as the cabbie asks no questions he's safe from being killed himself. Problem is... he gets involved. Was the cabbie right or wrong to try to stop the assassin??
The law has a very definite view, if you assist a criminal in their activities, you are a criminal yourself. What right do you have to make a criminal of someone else? What rights do THEY have to protect themselves and prevent becoming a criminal because of your actions? Whose rights take precedence?? Again, the law is very clear... you have NO right to make another person a criminal, they have EVERY right to prevent being made a criminal.
We won't even get into the moral values of trying to defend the criminal acts in the first place. If a law is bad, change it, don't break it!
Now, the high ground aside... an ISP isn't going to be snooping through your packets trying to trip you up - they simply don't have the time or resources to do that on any sort of scale - nor do they have any incentive. If you break a law and your IP is tracked by the site YOU invaded... they will alert the ISP, verify your activity, and hand you over to the authorities who will prosecute you in accordance with the law.
Just because you're given the freedom to do wrong, doesn't mean you HAVE to Happy

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misleading answer
by balonga / August 13, 2011 2:02 AM PDT

your answer is misleading for various reasons
the contract you mention is like an EULA a non valid pressure obtained agreement, you can not give out your rights in an agreement .
there is no need for that contract since transportation does not involve damage to the transporter
but ABOVE ALL as in every political rights matter the question is not whether it may be right if you infringe law BUT if the method/excuse can be used to attack your freedom.
the companies whose copyrights have many other ways to sustain their true rights and deserved profits , the fact is that they want to take more than they own.

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Off topic, again.
by Dropmurphy / August 13, 2011 2:08 AM PDT

In "Collateral", the cabbie is made well aware of the activities the passenger is engaging in. This is the scenario I addressed when I said, "If I got in the cab and TOLD the cabbie my suitcase was full of coke, that'd be a different story."

If in the movie, the passenger had just had the cabbie drive him to a few locations where he handled whatever business he needed to without offering information about his "business" voluntarily, then the cabbie would've just made a big fare with multiple stops as far as he knew. The cabbie wouldn't have followed him into the places they stopped at to see what he was doing in there. Same rules apply.

Finally, I'm not advocating criminal activity, I'm saying that no matter what I'm doing, the ISP should be oblivious to it, because I'm not paying them to pry into my personal business. That responsibility falls on the authorities.

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ISPs Monitoring Downloads
by l_turn9 / August 26, 2011 12:01 PM PDT

IMO - which isn't worth much, downloading a movie, etc. is no different from going to the library and checking out a DVD, VHS Tape or bunch of cassettes. I know the courts have ruled Downloads are illegal but I still don't see the difference. As long as I don't charge people for them - I cannot see a difference.

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where is out fredom going
by mail0123 / August 12, 2011 2:47 PM PDT

your so right it is the same as a cap ride , you pay for your services and the isp has no right into what your downloading , the isp it lucky to get there money each month so isp keep out

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Why does my ISP even know what type of content I'm uploading or downloading. As far as I'm concerned ISP's should only be concerned that my boat is moving through their gate, and if I need to pay the gatekeeper a toll to use the stream, so be it, but the gatekeeper should not be concerned with what's on my boat...nor anyone else. Freedom is not free, so I'll pay my toll, but should freedom also cost me my privacy?

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I doubt that it matters

There is no room for doubt that big brother is monitoring the internet through isp's and that their cooperation is unending.What really ticks me off is how the MSM howls in disgust when some country shuts down the net but cheers when the UK threatens to do the same.For almost the same reasons.It seems that anarchy in the name of supposed democracy is alright but in a G8 country it is a crime.The same claim made by the regimes in China and Syria to name but two.It's all hypocrisy and proof that freedom of speech is not a given,anywhere.Here in North America we have been ceding our rights in bits and pieces for years.Now corporations have the same rights as people and the people have very few rights left at all.Without so much as a whimper.

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I doubt that it matters
by Vern Ferris / August 13, 2011 2:41 AM PDT

As most politions know, most of the people are stupid, uninformed or just do not care and as sicntired said our right have been going and going.

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re:I doubt that it matters
by Inka43623 / August 14, 2011 4:12 AM PDT

"As most politions know, most of the people are stupid"

You spelled politicians wrong.

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by Dropmurphy / August 16, 2011 12:02 AM PDT

Hope that wasn't the only error you caught in that post....

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re: Hope that wasn't the only error you caught in that post.
by Inka43623 / August 16, 2011 2:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Hopefully...

No it wasn't, but that pretty much said it all. Grin

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Not ISP's business

It is not the ISP's business what I am uploading or downloading through their service. If they have information that I am doing something illegal, there are law enforcement agencys that have responsibility and jurisdicton. It may be the ISP's moral duty to report any illegal activity, but it is not directly their business. They have no enforcement rights or responsibilities.

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should U say "may I"?

we pay the isp for using the gateway to the they help with tech problems when using the computer to stay on the net? no, they dont unless you pay a fee. so is this all leading to paying for content that you want to up or download? probably..enough gouging..freedom for using the net!

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Yes: ISP just provides a service, but ...

Yes. Your ISP just provides a service but your ISP also has to comply with the law to stay in business. They have a right to protect themselves from your illegal acts.

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nothing to protect
by balonga / August 12, 2011 1:31 PM PDT

First. ISP has no rights to make a read of the bits you put or take into the connection they provide. This is analogous to old fashioned mail , neither mail administration nor anyone are entitled to read your mail . This right may be surpassed by a judicial order but this requires certain steps that in no way involve the provider.
Second. An illegal action has to be proven by an authority according to laws, ISP has no such authority not any.
Third. ISPs pass over our rights for their own will and interest.

ISPs action against our rights SHOULD BE STOPPED all over the world.

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There is a third party involved in that decision
by tisraels / August 12, 2011 3:27 PM PDT
In reply to: nothing to protect

There is no one "reading your mail", so to say. What goes on is someone seeds a torrent or otherwise uploads infringing content and the RIAA/other party sees a list of IP addresses that are seeding/uploading that content and subpoenas someone so that from there on their traffic is monitored by their ISP to look for further traces of infringing content.

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Re: Short Version & 4th Amendment rights
by shrapnel_indie / August 12, 2011 7:27 PM PDT

While I'd love to agree completely with you, I cannot.
The RIAA/MPAA/BCS/etc. all feel they are above the law AND the Constitution, and manage to slide by any rights that exist. The DHS, apparently based on stories that exist, feels the same way, and apparently need no supported suspicion to violate Constitutional rights..We have sold off a lot of rights for the feeling of security in the face of our fears (real, imagined, manipulated, or not.)
You are right, the 4th amendment exists to prevent Law AND Government from invading our privacy based on just anything without due and supported reason. Unfortunately there are SOME that feel our Constitution is nothing more than an obstacle for their own agenda, and will ignore and violate it every chance they can get away with it.
In Short: If the right person in the right position is motivated, your traffic WILL be monitored without your knowledge or the ISP being able to do anything about it.

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Why support illegal acts???
by mariegarden / August 12, 2011 1:39 PM PDT

I agree that ISP have to stay legal and am horrified that people would not support that. Recently
went to Social Club film night with obviously pirated movie - got told "everybody" does it - BUT if
everybody really did the company would soon go bankrupt. If it was a pedophile arranging to meet
our children or a terrorist organizing an attack would we not want that stopped????? Illegal is illegal.

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I hope humor, but will settle for insignificant
by Dropmurphy / August 14, 2011 1:24 PM PDT

This attitude, if genuine, is the exception and not the rule hopefully. This kind of mentality scares me, should it be the general attitude people have about this since it's exactly the type that will surrender every ounce of freedom left in this country as long as they're told it's for their own good. It's obviously not the norm on this thread, but who knows what the general population thinks about this.

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Bad attitude
by ozvaleron / August 14, 2011 8:15 PM PDT

I hope you are condemning the attitude that it's alright to break the law, and not that someone would be horrified that lawbreaking is justified because it's (allegedly) common!

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by Dropmurphy / August 15, 2011 3:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Bad attitude

I was actually referring to the willingness to give up privacy for everyone in order to catch a few people doing what they shouldn't be, whatever that may be. Monitoring everyone in the name of "safety" should not be so easily given in to.

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The execption?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 14, 2011 8:18 PM PDT

You mean, everyone else pirates copyrighted movies, music, software, and so on?

Where does that leave legality? Where does that leave morality?


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It doesn't matter.
by Dropmurphy / August 16, 2011 12:22 AM PDT
In reply to: The execption?

This is about the ISP monitoring and judging your activity on the internet. Whether that be legal, moral, or mind-numbingly dull activity, doesn't matter. Everyone's assuming this is just about piracy. It's so much more than that. It's about privacy which is pretty much covered in the 3rd and 4th amendments as something we have a right to, at least until a warrant can be issued with good reason to monitor or search your activities/holdings.

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