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The Five Levels of ISP Evil

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the some-of-which-are-really-government-evil dept.

Advertising 243

schwit1 writes "Recently a number of ISPs have been caught improperly redirecting end-user traffic in order to generate affiliate payments, using a system from Paxfire. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Paxfire and one of the ISPs. This is a serious allegation, but it's the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if everyone understands the levels of sneakiness that service providers can engage in."

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243 comments

Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080702)

If so, where do I sign on to the lawsuit for fraud?

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (5, Insightful)

greenbird (859670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080866)

If so, where do I sign on to the lawsuit for fraud?

Too late. The "Open Government" Obama administration has already granted them immunity, including retroactive immunity, for any illegal spying. The one big thing I was hoping for from Obama was to roll back some of the grosser programs put in place in violation of 1st and 4th amendments by the Bush administration. Instead his administration has taken them WAY farther. It's getting to the point of approaching gross violations of the Constitution by Lincoln during the American Civil War. But at least Lincoln had the excuse of a civil war to contend with. Obama and the morons in Congress are doing primarily to line there pockets with money from corporate interest.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080902)

That's immunity from charges that they cooperated with government spying without a warrant.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with "redirecting end-user traffic in order to generate affiliate payments". The government is not involved in that, did not ask the ISPs to do that, and offers no immunity to prosecution from that.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080982)

I'm curious what it would take to lead to another revolution. Are the same people who get pissed off about corporate control of government, the same people who would take up arms to stop it? And would a revolution even change anything, if most citizens' eyes just glaze over on any topic like this?

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081124)

I'm curious what it would take to lead to another revolution. Are the same people who get pissed off about corporate control of government, the same people who would take up arms to stop it? And would a revolution even change anything, if most citizens' eyes just glaze over on any topic like this?

Count me out of an armed revolt. Too much bloodshed, and it creates more problems than it solves.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081156)

Count me out of an armed revolt. Too much bloodshed, and it creates more problems than it solves.

Only because you're still in the comfort zone created by the bread and circuses. But that's ok they are going to erode a little more of your rights every year, until finally you won't care about shedding blood anymore. Revolution happens when the people would rather be dead than live under such conditions. Today people are still willing to live under these conditions - indeed the US is still much better than "those other places". However there are those of us that still remember that it was much better than it is today. It's only a matter of time.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (3, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081186)

Armed revolt is messy, indiscriminate, and has a pitifully high probability of installing authoritarian regimes. I am under no illusion that it would lead to a "better" way of living if I manage to survive it. Contrary to what fearmongers would have you think, the United States still has a bit of democracy left, and it is easier to make the public politically active than it is to fight a civil war with no end in sight.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081222)

Looking at known history of mankind, I think it's pretty safe to bet at least 100:1 against you. Sadly.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081378)

a random troll's knowledge of history isn't much of a bet

the system is compromised, but it's still better to work through the remaining portions of the system than embrace light headed fantasies of armed revolt, which is WAY worse than anything currently happening to the usa

looking forward to violence shows someone to be just as bad or worse than the forces currently hurting american institutions

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081392)

In 1776, we revolted in an armed sort of way, and we installed an authoritarian regime. :-\

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081432)

However there are those of us that still remember that it was much better than it is today. It's only a matter of time.

Oh I dunno. I'm no historian, but I see plenty of examples of domestic spying, nasty foreign politics, corporate greed, etc. from well before I was born that make today's US look like a hippie love-in. Not that I'm complaining.

I'd say we're getting better all the time, just like most every other place. We're just more likely to be pissed about current events... so we perceive things as worse, even when they're not.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081334)

Oh we'll include you. Bet on it.

Once the power shuts off for a week or two and you can't get your fast food and xbox fix.. You'll be out for blood just like everyone else.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081154)

I'm curious what it would take to lead to another revolution. Are the same people who get pissed off about corporate control of government, the same people who would take up arms to stop it? And would a revolution even change anything, if most citizens' eyes just glaze over on any topic like this?

I've often wondered the same thing, especially as of late. Sadly, I think as long as the majority has 200 channels of shit to watch on television, they will remain placated. Besides, all you have to do is turn on any of the dozen or so "news" channels to understand how wrong you are. Only crazy ass militia types would talk like that. ;-)

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081236)

I'm curious what it would take to lead to another revolution. Are the same people who get pissed off about corporate control of government, the same people who would take up arms to stop it? And would a revolution even change anything, if most citizens' eyes just glaze over on any topic like this?

I've often wondered the same thing, especially as of late. Sadly, I think as long as the majority has 200 channels of shit to watch on television, they will remain placated. Besides, all you have to do is turn on any of the dozen or so "news" channels to understand how wrong you are. Only crazy ass militia types would talk like that. ;-)

Fourty-odd years ago it was thirteen channels of shit on the tv to choose from...electric light and a strong urge to fly.

It doesn't matter how prevalent the distractions are, distractions are just that. Enough to convince people not to react adversely.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080884)

Verizon FIOS (residential, at least) redirects to Paxfire on mistyped domains.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081106)

Cox has its own redirection.

Easily fixed by putting in 4.4.4.4 and 8.8.8.8 into your DNS servers.

However, this seems more invasive and abusive.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081126)

8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 are the google dns servers

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081252)

Does there exist other quality public DNS servers somewhere?

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081340)

Everybody loves OpenDNS [opendns.com] ?

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (2)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081442)

Doesn't OpenDNS return bogus results for what should be NXDOMAIN responses? http://www.opendns.com/home/basic/ [opendns.com] suggests so with "The customizable OpenDNS Guide page appears when you try to access a non-existent website and displays relevant search results to help you get where you want to go" and no hint that it can be turned off (at least on the basic account).

I've been using Google's DNS service (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) since a little problem with my last ISP's servers one day last year, and they honour NXDOMAIN correctly.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081218)

Call them up. They have a separate DNS server you can switch to which isn't broken. They'll give you the IP freely, and tell you how to change it in their routers.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080896)

Sorry, all Verizon customers have agreed to binding arbitration. No lawsuits for you, sucker.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080920)

I've read that binding-arbitration contracts can sometimes be successfully challenged in cases of fraud.

Re:Does Verizon FiOS do it? (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081406)

Or in cases where the contract is one sided, such as most service contracts with corporations. It just takes a good business lawyer to make that right argument to get binding arbitration voided based on precedent.

The free market exist for a reason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080704)

Don't waste time and taxpayer money in courts, just get a better ISP you fucking idiots. I am sick of all these stupid lawsuits because someones internet rights were violated. Fuck you.

Re:The free market exist for a reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080724)

Ya - fuck you too! how easy is it to find an alternate ISP you moron

Re:The free market exist for a reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080754)

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Two-ISPs-In-A-Market-Does-Not-Mean-Theres-Competition-107517

Re:The free market exist for a reason (4, Insightful)

aeoo (568706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080752)

Most markets in USA have either an effective monopoly or a duopoly when it comes to ISPs. Or otherwise we have options that cost 3-5 times over the fair market rates which do not even try to compete for the residential dollar.

Re:The free market exist for a reason (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080892)

I have more than once ended up on some stupid survey page after entering common urls...like www.slashdot.org.

AT&T

Re:The free market exist for a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081138)

Use alternate DNS.

Re:The free market exist for a reason (1)

tnnn (1035022) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081066)

/Minor moderation fix/ Sorry, miss-clicked an option in my mod drop-down - just cleaning it.

Re:The free market exist for a reason (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080768)

Ah, the familiar stench of somebody who doesn't even know what conditions 'free market' implies; but attempts to passionately defend them...

Re:The free market exist for a reason (0)

Bryan Bytehead (9631) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080782)

There is no such thing as a free market for ISPs. Talk about a fucking idiot.

Cheap ISPs can be evil too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080708)

My old ISP switched its DNS to OpenDNS, which wouldn't be so bad except they gave no way to opt out, forcing users to wait forever, and see ads on 404s. They also, for a while, blocked any URL with ".src" in it, which blocked java games that contained ".screen" such as playsite.

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081086)

"screen" has "src" in it ?

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081130)

scr. Like the screensaver extension on some operation systems.

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081200)

"no way to opt out"? It's easy to change your DNS servers. How do you expect to "opt out" of their DNS besides changing the setting yourself? It's not like there's a default DNS server that's not at your ISP that they started overriding.

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081312)

Some ISP's might not pass through DNS queries that aren't directed at the server that they specify.

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081272)

This is Slashdot and you didn't bother to Google how to change your DNS?

Re:Cheap ISPs can be evil too (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081458)

OpenDNS does nothing with 404 responses. It will give bogus addresses in what should be NXDOMAIN responses, but any edited 404's if you are in fact seeing that will be your ISPs doing directly.

Had a chance at First Post (2, Insightful)

ZephyrQ (96951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080710)

But decided that I had nothing really pertinent to say--ISPs doing evil? That ranks up there with Banks collecting money and M$ collecting technology--happens every day but no one really cares unless it hurts them directly... ...huh, guess I did have something to say...

slippery slope (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080850)

The stupidest thing you can possibly say to this story is "everyone is doing it." Do not lend legitimacy to evil.

Re:slippery slope (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080988)

I don't think that was his point, I think he was saying "we're all fucked because we're all apathetic and jaded and only lift a finger when it directly benefits us."

Re:Had a chance at First Post (3, Informative)

darrylo (97569) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080864)

Are people somehow missing the point??? The article was written by the CEO of an ISP that is NOT doing those things (they're also not doing usage caps, which people would discover if they read the other blog posts -- see Mar 23).

(Disclaimer: they're also my ISP. They're amazingly clueful, and will even give their subscribers a limited shell account, although you do have to ask for it. It's great for an ssh web proxy, to help prevent hijackings at public wifi access points. )

Quick summary: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080722)

Your ISP is, should it be in their financial interest, the 'man in the middle'. Every attack that involves one of those could involve them. Game over.

And it continues... (-1, Troll)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080728)

Slashdot's obsession with watering down the meaning of word "evil" until it is useless continues. And surprise! Four of the five point are "evil" because they involve money. Never saw that one coming around here.

Re:And it continues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080774)

Evil is going the way of Fascist. It lost meaning and it doesn't insult anyone any longer. I blame the leftards, mostly.

Re:And it continues... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081300)

Would you go so far as to say that the "leftards" are EVIL?

Re:And it continues... (2)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080804)

You do realize the article is external and not "written by Slashdot", right?

You do understand the "evils" listed go beyond just "involving money" to serious issues concerning privacy, the integrity of web systems, etc., right?

You do realize you don't ever have to read Slashdot if it angers you so, right?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Re:And it continues... (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080868)

The motivation for all 5 is money. That's not what makes it evil. What makes them evil is that they are interfering with the way the internet works. If it were a phone call, they would have been jailed. But for some reason, traffic on the internet is not yet considered private use of a communications network the way the phone network is.

Re:And it continues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081226)

The motivation for all 5 is money. That's not what makes it evil.

I would say it is, the greed of corporate USA is the only driving force of practical every market segment. Even basic needs like health, food, education and sanitary have parasites draining money as fast as possible and still not satisfied. It is the same in any market, profit by any means is the order of the day. There is nothing you can do because the government is in on the action as well and most people are too ignorant to care.

Re:And it continues... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081426)

Evil is whatever I say it is. Anyone who claims that it is something other than what I claim it is is factually incorrect (some magical being whose opinions override everyone else's for some reason told me that my morals are correct)!

Charter definitelly does something like that (3, Informative)

aeoo (568706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080738)

I'm on Charter and I've most definitely been randomly redirected to Charter's internal search page for no good reason. The last example of this I definitely remember is when I tried to visit www.gimp.org and instead I was sent to Charter's search page. Charter's search then displayed www.gimp.org as one of the search results. When I clicked on the search result I was sent to www.gimp.org without any further issues. This tells me there is no technical difficulty at all, it's just a corrupt tactic being used by Charter to try to milk their customers (as if they need even more profits, as being being a one of the companies in a duopoly is just not good enough for them).

Fuck everything about this practice.

Re:Charter definitelly does something like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080870)

I'm on Charter and I've most definitely been randomly redirected to Charter's internal search page for no good reason. The last example of this I definitely remember is when I tried to visit www.gimp.org and instead I was sent to Charter's search page. Charter's search then displayed www.gimp.org as one of the search results. When I clicked on the search result I was sent to www.gimp.org without any further issues. This tells me there is no technical difficulty at all, it's just a corrupt tactic being used by Charter to try to milk their customers (as if they need even more profits, as being being a one of the companies in a duopoly is just not good enough for them).

Fuck everything about this practice.

I've run into that a number of times using built in search engines on various browsers, charter will hijack it. But it was a quick fix, some where towards the bottom of that page there should be an opt out button.

Re:Charter definitelly does something like that (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081046)

There's a more permanent fix... set your router to use Google's open DNS servers... Google is helping to redefine evil, but at least their DNS servers actually conform to standards and don't engage in these kinds of shenanigans.

Disagree on the order (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080750)

5: Improper NXDOMAIN handling
4: Clickstream Tracking
3: Ad Swapping
2: Affiliate Program Pumping
1: Rolling Over

"Affiliate Program Pumping" benefits my ISP without hurting me, and it "poisons the affiliate ecosystem". I'm not even sure if this counts as evil at all. It probably does for manipulating traffic, but tracking me is certainly worse. Count that as 5.

Ad swapping likewise doesn't hurt me and benefits my ISP, so the traffic manipulation is why it's bad and that's it. I filter ads anyway. It's #4 to me.

Improper DNS NXDOMAIN handling is evil, because it affects the user. On the other hand it's easily avoided, so that's a 3 IMHO.

Ratting users out to the authorities too easily is despicable, but on the other hand ISPs are bound by the sometimes less than clear law and I don't expect others to fight for my freedom. I consider rolling over to be the second most evil thing an ISP can do.

Clickstream tracking sells me out. Bad ISP. This ought to take the pole position.

Re:Disagree on the order (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080848)

Where does the money the ISP makes come from? In the example, Amazon. Affiliate pumping is essentially a way to steal from online retailers, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was in some way a form of actual fraud. It does hurt you indirectly, when those retailers have to raise prices to compensate.

Re:Disagree on the order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080934)

It doesn't make a difference whether my ISP or some random web site gets the affiliate bonus. If there's something that can kill the affiliate system and the opinion and review spam that it produces, I'm not going to get in the way. The enemy of my enemy, you know...

Re:Disagree on the order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081396)

Riddle me this, batman:

What about the sites that ARE supposed to be getting these affiliate bucks, but instead it goes to the ISP? If enough ISPs do it, those websites lose support and go bye-bye. THAT would personally affect you.

Re:Disagree on the order (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081096)

I probably wouldn't care too much as an end user. And not being hurt directly, it might be difficult to make a lawsuit out of it even if I cared. What damages to claim?
Amazon, however, might have reason to take this to court. They also have much more resources to fight out a lawsuit. Which does, unfortunately, make a difference.
Maybe some state attorney who has a clue about the internet might also be interested, but don't hold your breath for that.

Re:Disagree on the order (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081436)

I'd say it's more of a potential loss of potential profit than anything else.

Re:Disagree on the order (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080948)

Ad swapping likewise doesn't hurt me and benefits my ISP, so the traffic manipulation is why it's bad and that's it. I filter ads anyway. It's #4 to me.

This does hurt the user, eventually. If the sites you use rely on ad revenue to stay in business, and your ISP replaces their ads with their own to steal their revenue stream, those sites lose money even though they served you their content, and eventually may go out of business because of it. Unless you prefer ads for male enhancement pills to the content you were originally trying to view. You could even argue it's illegal and/or violating the TOS of the original website for modifying and hosting their copyrighted content...

Also, Improper DNS NXDOMAIN handling is the basis for Affiliate Program Pumping, just a more insidious version that basically steals a cut of revenue from a retailer without your or their permission or knowledge. It's a superset, so how can it be less of an issue?

Re:Disagree on the order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081016)

I mentioned that I filter ads, so it really doesn't matter whose ads I filter. Ad swapping is most definitely illegal here, because of the part where it requires traffic manipulation. That's not the point. I think it's less evil, not less illegal.

Improper DNS NXDOMAIN handling is just one way of implementing affiliate program pumping. An ISP can transparently hijack all HTTP traffic to retailers and redirect you through affiliate URLs. Doing that with a transparent proxy is much more effective and it doesn't affect other protocols, like NXDOMAIN highjacking does. There's also the part where it damages the affiliate ecosystem, which almost eliminates the evilness.

Re:Disagree on the order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081316)

Ah, the famous "-1, disagree" moderation...

A better system than points: Jail Terms (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080812)

How about, instead of something nebulous like points, we describe an ISP's level of evil by the number of years in prison an individual hacker would get if they got caught doing the things these corporations do to traffic passing through systems they control.

Re:A better system than points: Jail Terms (3, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081216)

All you have to do is buy one of the servers the traffic naturally passes through on its merry way. Then, any modification you make is 'legal' since it is an authorized system for your use, and no 'hacking' is taking place.

Comcast Business (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080818)

I have it, and they have solemnly informed me that there is no way their business customers can opt out of the evil Domain "Helper" Service. That came all the way from some vice president's office in Philadelphia after I spent two weeks on the phone with them about a year ago. Since they were kind enough to send their apologies via SnailMail, I wrote back and solemnly informed them that I would never, ever click on one of their sponsored links, and that if I ever saw that page, I would shut the browser window immediately. It wasn't much--the equivalent of throwing a spit wad, but they know how pissed off I am. I know I can make other DNS arrangements. It's about 87th on my list of crap to worry about.

Re:Comcast Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080894)

Switch to residential as there is no problem opting out of that "service" on the residential side of the business. You might also want to change the dns server address in your router as well.

Re:Comcast Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081026)

Like throwing a spit wad and missing...

The only way to hit them is to cancel service and use someone else. And before you say you can't, because they are the fastest/cheapest/ONLY option - well, they probably know that, which is why they are so arrogant...

They forgot a bunch (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080836)

  • Using a NAT, so customers don't get a real IP address
  • Using a firewall, blocking all incoming TCP connections
  • Slowing down or blocking certain services, based on port numbers or DPI (bonus points if the ISP operates a competing service)
  • Slowing down or blocking packets from certain hosts
  • Doing any of the above, and then denying it when customers ask about it
  • Disconnecting customers for alleged copyright infringement, without a court order

neogods, sociopath weapons peddlers endangering us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080852)

still showing up here there & everywhere

should it not be considered that the domestic threats to all of us/our
freedoms be intervened on/removed, so we wouldn't be compelled to hide our
sentiments, &/or the truth, about ANYTHING, including the origins of the
hymenology council, & their sacred mission? with nothing left to hide,
there'd be room for so much more genuine quantifiable progress?

you call this 'weather'? much of our land masses/planet are going under
water, or burning up, as we fail to consider anything at all that really
matters, as we've been instructed that we must maintain our silence (our
last valid right?), to continue our 'safety' from... mounting terror.

meanwhile, back at the raunch; there are exceptions? the unmentionable
sociopath weapons peddlers are thriving in these times of worldwide
sufferance? the royals? our self appointed murderous neogod rulers? all
better than ok, thank..... us. their stipends/egos/disguises are secure,
so we'll all be ok/not killed by mistaken changes in the MANufactured
'weather', or being one of the unchosen 'too many' of us, etc...?

truth telling & disarming are the only mathematically & spiritually
correct options. read the teepeeleaks etchings. see you there?

diaperleaks group worldwide.

Proposals? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080872)

For us geeks, there is HTTPS Everywhere. Now how do we get my grandmother using it, or some similar form of technology to prevent tampering? Remember that it doesn't have to be some really secure encryption - even something like unsigned HTTPS is better than nothing, as the cost of performing a stateful MITM attack renders being evil far more expensive than manipulating cleartext packets.

Re:Proposals? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080994)

Doesn't help for DNS NXDOMAIN handling issues, though. Helps a bit for tracking and privacy, but they can still track the sites you go to and your IP. Will definitely help with ad replacement.

Unfortunately all it really does is try to make it easier to use sites' existing HTTPS support, and so is pretty limited right now. Calling it "HTTPS Everywhere" was a pretty huge exaggeration. Still better than nothing, though...

Re:Proposals? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081196)

So there is a problem, and a potential way to fix it: Pressure sites, both major and minor, into supporting HTTPS. I already made sure my personal website has it running. I notice Slashdot does not, though.

Surreptitious Subpoenas (3, Interesting)

xkr (786629) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080900)

I would like to make it clear that NO ORGANIZATION need respond to a subpoena without a fight. There are a thousand ways that a public or private entity can get a subpoena issued for your private information. Basically, a party simply asks the court to issue one, and the court does. The receiver or other "affected parties" have every right to object to the subpoena and demand a hearing. For example, an ISP could insist on a suitable delay in order to inform the user of the subpoena and give the user the time and information necessary to fight the subpoena. If, after a hearing, the court finds the subpoena valid, it will issue a "court order," that had better be followed, or the recipient can be charged with contempt of court.

ISPs, banks, and other organization regularly roll over when issued subpoenas, coughing up all the customer's information without giving the customer the opportunity to respond and object. The underlying issue might be a nasty divorce, an evil contractor, a whiny neighbor, or a gov't employee fishing for glory. Most large organizations have some small print in their terms of use or account contract that says that the customer gives up the right to question subpoenas and that the organization will obey subpoenas no matter who they are from without first warning the customer.

I know personally of one organization that holds private customer data and simply ignores all subpoenas. They have received hundreds over the years, but not a single court order. So those lawyer types and account PR people who say they "have to" obey subpoenas are not telling the (whole) truth.

Note that attorneys and medical provides have "special rules" protecting client information. Funny how that works, huh?

For people who care about privacy, many of us would pay a bit extra for service from an organization that promises to put our interests first.

Disclaimers: (1) IANAL, so by definition, "this is not legal advice." Consult your attorney. (2) Some subpoenas require secrecy, and there are homeland defense subpoenas that are different, but these types are actually rare.

Underestimates the problem of NXDOMAIN hijacking (5, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080908)

It's not just that it shows ads, it breaks lots of internet services.

People seem to forget that the web isn't just HTTP, and there are quite a few other things that do DNS lookups. And weird stuff happens when a name that doesn't exist resolves, and the connection is directed to an ad server.

Re:Underestimates the problem of NXDOMAIN hijackin (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080938)

It's hardly surprising, most people don't know that the web isn't just Facebook and that "Goggle" page you type Facebook into to login.

Re:Underestimates the problem of NXDOMAIN hijackin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081070)

"Most people" are willingly utter retards. News at 11!
Next: Water is still wet! Stay tuned!

Re:Underestimates the problem of NXDOMAIN hijackin (0)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081082)

What other protocols does the web run on? Or did you mean the Internet, which is not just the web, and uses all sorts of other protocols, some of which involve DNS lookups?

Re:Underestimates the problem of NXDOMAIN hijackin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081178)

This is exactly the kind of asshattery that poses a huge problem. Another example is the fucking "click to access the Internet" pages on networks that won't route your traffic until you run a web browser and click on the thing. The idiots that use those kinds of systems almost make me want to set my iPod or other device to randomly send dissociation packets to any wireless packet it sees while I'm in those places.

Nope (1)

Chad Charran (2437024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080932)

"What you do online is private!" If only. If only.

Is that comparable to Phorm fiasco in the UK? (2)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080980)

I remember when news broke [slashdot.org] of a user tracking software (Phorm) built right into the ISP's servers (BT). No BT broadband customers were informed of such online tracking and there was no opt out (later on, a cookie opt out and then trials ended [slashdot.org] ). UK law officials/regulators did nothing to punish BT: CPS: We won't prosecute over BT/Phorm secret trials! [theregister.co.uk]

This is the ISP's perrogative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080990)

Look, I hate this shit as much as anyone. But these ISPs are private companies, and as such, should be able to do whatever they want (to include destroying themselves). If they act like fuckheads by violating the privacy of customers, then customers should (and will) go elsewhere. What, they're the only broadband ISP in your area? Sorry, but you don't have the *right* to broadband on your terms. If enough people stand up to the bullshit by canceling service, they'll change their ways or be destroyed. The [free] market always sorts these things out.

But if you wish to use the power of the government to get your way, then you've destroyed the idea of the free market, and it will *always* come back to bite you in the ass, and you will get what you deserve.

Re:This is the ISP's perrogative (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081048)

If the Internet Death Penalty were still dealt these days, I'd agree with you. In practice there is no way to punish ISPs for misbehavior of that sort, because in many places there's hardly any competition and other networks can't really decide to cut off a big ISP in case "rough consensus" is no longer adhered to. This is the prototypical situation where regulation is required to keep things working.

Re:This is the ISP's perrogative (4, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081188)

The problem with that approach is that the network (at least the "last mile" leading to customers' residences) is a natural monopoly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly [wikipedia.org] for a definition. For a competitor, it is usually not worthwhile to build a parallel network if he can reach only a few customers. Result: The incumbent ISP can like a fuckhead and get away with it.

A way to solve that would be a public network where the customer can choose his provider and the provider can then rent the wire from the customer's house to the next telephone exchange. Germany got that one halfway right:
When the telecommunications branch of the former Deutsche Post (public mail and telecom authority) was privatized, the new company "Deutsche Telekom" also got the network - under the condition that they rent out the "last mile" to competitors if the customer wants to go with one of those. A new regulation authority controls the price for that rent.
As a result, Germany actually has DSL competition in most places. Of course, there is still a lot of bickering between Deutsche Telekom and the competition about how much rent is fair, and the regulation authority is needed to keep the Deutsche Telekom from charging excessive rates. But by and large it works.

Re:This is the ISP's perrogative (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081336)

The [free] market always sorts these things out..

Great. Another religious idiot ignoring history, reality, and common sense by insisting that free markets never fail, and always lead to optimal outcomes. Do you also believe in the tooth fairy?

Evil (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081002)

People keep using the word "evil" in reference to corporations and it sickens me. It weakens the meaning of the word because, in a vast majority of cases, the corporation in question isn't "evil". They may be dicks or nasty or mean or "not right"but "evil" is a powerful word that applies to very specific situations. In almost every case where I see someone describing a corporation as "evil", I immediately ignore everything else the person has to say - if they can't understand how to properly use the word "evil" then they clearly can't form an opinion worth listening to.

You may not like ISPs dicking with your service in the quest of profits but that is far, far, far from evil.

Please, if you're going to use the word "evil", make sure that you're actually describing something that is evil.

Re:Evil (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081212)

I am not sure what else to call companies that do anything they can to make a buck.

How about slamming? That evil?

Personally I think evil is a very good description.

Re:Evil (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081230)

Please, if you're going to use the word "evil", make sure that you're actually describing something that is evil.

The use of "evil" in this sense is well within accepted definitions of the term: "morally reprehensible", "causing harm" or just "harmful" or "injurious". It is nothing new to use "evil" as a synonym for "bad". Etymologically, the word comes from a root meaning "over" or "above" what is acceptable or right. Perhaps you figure that it means something rather stronger and more emphatic than "bad", but I'd say that's just because "bad" has overtaken "evil" in common use, leading one to think evil is "mwuh, hah, hah" bad.

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081246)

People keep using the word "evil" in reference to corporations and it sickens me.

Then you get sick an awful lot for the wrong reason. "Evil" is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "morally reprehensible" or "arising from bad character" or "causing harm". One might also define evil as furthering one's own goals exclusively despite any negative affect that might have on others.

All of that pretty much describes the operating practices of most modern corporations of any significant size. I don't see the language problem here.

Examine writer's motivation (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081058)

Not saying that the author of the article isn't right, per se, but they're the CEO of a company that sells, amongst other things, internet access. They've got a vested interest in portraying other ISPs as "evil."

VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081064)

That $60 that I spent on VPN service is looking better every day.

Sonic.net (1)

skam240 (789197) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081104)

... And yet another reason why I am so glad I use sonic.net as my ISP. I've been with them since the 90's when they were a small county wide internet service provider and they've always been great. Sure I could spend 5 dollars less a month (or maybe even more) with comcast or AT and T but it's worth it to me that my money goes to a company that treats its customers so well and actually gives a rats ass about my privacy rights. About once a quarter I get an email from these guys discussing proposed legislation that threatens my data privacy rights along with suggestions as to what I can do about it. Absolute love it.

If you live in Northern California you'd do well to look into them for your service.

strange rating (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081122)

NXDOMAIN problems are less evil than swapping ads? a intelligent person will block ads anyway.

How about 404 hijacking? Mediacom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081132)

Then there is Mediacom. Without telling anyone they now have a "3 strikes" policy -- but their IPcustomer database is scrambled, so in actuality they just randomly shut off people's connections. (This is what made me drop them, when i actually stopped doing any torrents and still got shut off, then found out it was not even for anything I had ever transferred, and the IP address was never mine.)

          Mediacom do NXDOMAIN hijacking.

            Mediacom injected ads onto the Google page, among others, advertising their phone service. They stopped this after site owners threatened lawsuits.

          Mediacom do *404 hijacking*. They redirect some 404s (aka page not found) to the same junk page they redirect NXDOMAINs. I thought several sites had dropped off the face of the earth (at least the DNS failed), when it turned out they had just reorgranized the sites and Mediacom had hijacked the 404 responses. As a bonus, the opt-out page (which is at least the kind that affects the whole connection and not the broken "oh we'll set a cookie" type) does not work for 404 hijacking. Within the last week, I did see 404 hijacks stop, so I don't know if the "opt out" started working or if the threats of lawsuits from site owners persuaded Mediacom they cannot pull people away from valid sites, or if the hijacks are simply intermittent.

Re:How about 404 hijacking? Mediacom (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081258)

Mediacom do *404 hijacking*. They redirect some 404s (aka page not found) to the same junk page they redirect NXDOMAINs. I thought several sites had dropped off the face of the earth (at least the DNS failed), when it turned out they had just reorgranized the sites and Mediacom had hijacked the 404 responses. As a bonus, the opt-out page (which is at least the kind that affects the whole connection and not the broken "oh we'll set a cookie" type) does not work for 404 hijacking. Within the last week, I did see 404 hijacks stop, so I don't know if the "opt out" started working or if the threats of lawsuits from site owners persuaded Mediacom they cannot pull people away from valid sites, or if the hijacks are simply intermittent.

They also generate the 404 errors themselves by having frequent DNS "problems". I've been logging DNS downtime on a half-hour basis since January, and it seems to be around 20-25%.

Much better. (0)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081206)

It's nice to see people complaining about things ISPs do that are really worth complaining about for a change. I've been tired of hearing people on /. and elsewhere whining about ISPs charging for bandwidth usage ("All customers should get unlimited plans rather than per-GB rates, because bandwidth is free, right? It's so unfair that it'll cost me extra money to download all my dozens of GB of pirated movies!").

Re:Much better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081360)

Because people who have netflix accounts or other pay-for services should be charged twice? Not everyone on the internet pirates 24/7.
  The best comparision I can make would be:
Would you be charged for every minute you watch television? I think you would get angry then over it.

How to get around DNS hijacking by ISPs (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081270)

=> route through Tor using a local DNS proxy (TorDNS, Privoxy) possible on all major OS even without routing all traffic through Tor which e.g. makes it hard to use Google)
However, I know nothing about the DNS hijacking popular Tor exit nodes might be subject to.
Any better suggestions?

Re:How to get around DNS hijacking by ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081474)

google dns servers

8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4

of course that's still passing that information to google.

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