Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

What Software Do Cable Installers Place on Your PC?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the fishy-practices dept.

Security 973

{e}N0S asks: "The cable guy came over to install a cable modem at my Dad's house. As I watched him do his stuff I noticed he was installing something called Broadjump Client Foundation. I know you don't need software for a cable modem to work so I asked if it was necessary. He said he had to do his list of things, and we had to sign that he did his list of things, otherwise he couldn't leave it with us to use. Since I can always remove the software, I agreed, but I noticed while he was flipping through the install, he was clicking 'agree' on every EULA that came up. Doing a search on Google for 'Broadjump Client Foundation' comes up with some pretty scary stuff as far as what it does, like: 'Builds a database of subscriber demographics and buying behaviors to help evolve and refine marketing efforts.' Now, how does this affect us? Neither myself or anyone in my family agreed to the software; the cable guy did. And is there anyway to get cable companies to stop doing this as I can imagine since the cable company is a monopoly in this town, that the percentage of people who still have this software on their computers is pretty high."

cancel ×

973 comments

Bool! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546637)

First Post! Good Morning!

he installed (5, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546638)

nothing.

he did nothing. i wouldnt let him. i just signed as if he did, to keep him outta shit.

Re:he installed (1, Informative)

dala24 (325912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546663)

I actually had him install it while i wasn't there and waddya know, the pc crashed 3 days later... so, i transferred it to my 2nd, didn't install anything and it hasn't glitched in 5 months

Re:he installed (5, Insightful)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546679)

Even better yet, I have DSL. It came as an self-install kit.

1) Plugged DSL modem into the telephone line

2) Plugged DSL modem into network hub

3) Connected filters to telephones

4) Threw install CD in the trash

Re:he installed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546779)

why do you use user commands then suddenly change to a subroutine when a perfectly good user command with exactly the same name is available ?

Re:he installed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546820)

why do you use user commands then suddenly change to a subroutine when a perfectly good user command with exactly the same name is available

You mean sleep()?

I think it indicates a loop.

Re:he installed (4, Interesting)

madshot (621087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546699)

I would just thank him for giving me my modem and show him the door. If he doesn't like it he can call his manager and complain :)

I NEVER let anyone install any software on my company computers or my home computers that deal with broadband. Next thing you know you'll have spy wear and you can't remove it.

Re:he installed (1)

GOD_IS_HERE (620331) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546811)

thats what i did also. No cable company is going to install anything on my PC EVER

fp? (-1)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546641)

naaah.

Have a honeypot (5, Insightful)

samjam (256347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546651)

Have a bogus PC or bogus windows installation for him to install junk on, which you can leave "unused" till you need to call support when you can boot into that partition if needed.

Re:Have a honeypot (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546717)

That was my fall back if a flat "NO" wasn't good enough.

Re:Have a honeypot (5, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546725)

I did this the first time I got cable. It was a 486 with Windows95 installed on it. Took the guy 30 minutes to install his warez on it. After he left, I got out my real computer and put the garage sale relic back in the attic.

Re:Have a honeypot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546829)

Yep...backed up the data on my fiance's computer, let the cable guy install, and then did a reformat and reinstall.

The version of software they used didn't come with Broadjump(the one they ship now does, though) but it was extremely unstable.

Compaq ML570 Server (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546653)

Compaq ML570 Server for sale CASH ONLY! Dual 700 Xeons, £1000 UK only. ferrisio@yahoo.com

Self Install Kits (5, Insightful)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546659)

This is why I always opt for the self-install option with any ISP. I don't even like my wife messing with my computer, nevermind some complete stranger.

(Side note: Yes, she does have her own computer. So there. :P)

Re:Self Install Kits (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546822)

You can't self install with a cable modem. It's illegal in most states, because of cable theft the laws in most states are very broad. Once it's installed, you can undo what they've done but try and get permission to install even the modem & software! The cable company get's money from partnerships with the companies who's crap they are installing. If they don't install it, they don't get paid. The best way to do this is to file suit that they are collecting your personal information without your consent. Your not clicking through any Eula so there is absolutley no way to bind you to them. So read the cable contract, if it doesn't mention anything about the snooping you've got them!

Don't worry about it (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546664)

Do you want theoretical advice or practical?

Theoretical:
If you feel you can't live with the restrictions or you and your machine, then drop the service and use something else.

Practical
Just wipe the stuff off the machine after the guy leaves.

You can only analyze this stuff so far.

Re:Don't worry about it (5, Insightful)

windex (92715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546728)

On top of that, any cable company will let you demand to do a self install, and just drop off the cable modem or ship it UPS.

The worst case scenerio is that you set it up before he gets there and go "I used to have it in my old apartment/house/whatever, it's already setup. Just plug it in and I'll sign your service order". No human cable technician is going to turn down getting out of doing work.

Makes me wonder how old the submitter was to where he couldn't just say "No, thanks, I'll install it myself".

Inquiring minds must know... (4, Insightful)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546665)

What cable internet provider was this?

Re:Inquiring minds must know... (5, Interesting)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546761)

What cable internet provider was this?

Dunno what this guy used, but certainly ATTBI/MediaOne/whatever does this.

Broadjump is the biggest piece of shit software I've ever seen. It reboots your computer whenever possible (god forbid they should check to see if you're running on 2K/XP which doesn't need to be rebooted to renew DHCP). You also need that program to register your MAC address with them. I could have made a fuss, but it wasn't worth it. I installed, registered, and de-installed. No more problems.

They certainly don't require that you leave it installed, except for Tech Support. Which so far has been easy, because if it's a problem with the line, you simply call and report that cable TV is out. Then they don't ask you to reboot your computer 500 times.

None (1)

skubalon (579506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546669)

They installed nothing, nor did they ask to. I was there for the entire installation.

Comcast - Mac OS X (5, Informative)

mcwop (31034) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546670)

I use Mac OS X. The software that Comcast has is incredibly buggy for Mac OS. I refused to install it. I just signed the docs for the cable guy (as if I even needed him to come do the installation in the first place).

Small Claims Court? (5, Insightful)

TheBillGates (266114) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546673)

I wonder if you could take them to small claims court to compensate you for the time you spent uninstalling the program?

Sure, it wouldn't amount to much money, but taking them to court would get their attention that people don't want that spyware stuff on their machines.

The nerve they have to install that spyware and not have the decency to even let their customer know. This is a severe abuse of your privacy.

Re:Small Claims Court? (4, Interesting)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546730)

I wonder if you could take them to small claims court to compensate you for the time you spent uninstalling the program?

More significantly, isn't him clicking through the end user agreements a forgery of your agreement?

On a practical level, I agree with someone above: have a sacrificial machine. I built a machine from my parts boxes for them to mess up. After all, all they want is a windows control panel to poke at, that it is on a P100 with almost no disk space and a slightly dodgy power supply doesn't matter.

Re:Small Claims Court? (1)

B1 (86803) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546780)

That could backfire though... The court system is clogged, so some judges take a dim view of lawsuits that are apparently filed based upon "the principle of the thing" rather than real actual damages.

Other judges take a dim view of those who would use the court system as a solution of first resort, rather than trying to resolve things out of court.

Your first step should be to figure out what the actual damages are If add/remove programs can do it in mere minutes, forget the court date and send a nasty letter. On the other hand, if the only way to remove the software is to nuke and reload your PC, wiping out all data in the process, you might have more of a case. Maybe...

Re:Small Claims Court? (1)

ronaldcromwell (596642) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546841)

Riiiiiiight. Sue them for the 10 seconds it takes to click Uninstall in Add/Remove Programs. Don't kid yourself, geek time isn't worth THAT much.

Nothing. (4, Informative)

krugdm (322700) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546675)

Roadrunner let me pick up a self install kit, so no tech ever came to my house.

And no software needed to be installed anyway. Screwed the cable line into the modem, turned it on, attached it to the Linksys router, turned it on, attached that to the LAN port on my Mac, turned that on, and presto! A working internet connection!

Re:Nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546715)

You forgot step 5: if the router is also your firewall, change the default pw and ip.

Re:Nothing. (5, Funny)

Skirwan (244615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546784)

Screwed the cable line into the modem, turned it on, attached it to the Linksys router, turned it on, attached that to the LAN port on my Mac, turned that on, and presto! A working internet connection!
Step three... There's no step three. There's no step three!

:)

--
Damn the Emperor!

Re:Nothing. (0, Offtopic)

Associate (317603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546837)

Step 3: Profit!

Re:Nothing. (4, Interesting)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546819)

Actually I wasn't aware of that "self-install" was a seperate option, so two guys came by and unpacked and plugged in the cable modem. Then one guy hunted around a bit trying to test if the connection was working until I realized that I had the DHCP Client service turned off, at which point I turned it on, and then explained to him, after he asked, what I had just done. So I guess "props" to Road Runner (although I'm not sure I feel good about giving "props" to anything related to the AOL/TimeWarner/MechaGodzilla conglomerate).

I think these guys get commission on the number of installations they do in a day, so they are glad to get out the door as soon as they can.

Dey is niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546680)

Naturally they install spyware and other crap on your PC. Tell them to go back to Afrika!

I did cable modem installs (3, Informative)

cybergeak (318482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546684)

And if you really don't want something done, assure the installer you will sign off on whatever, so long as he does what you ask.

All we care about is your autograph, if your happy and are willing to sign, im sure he wont have a problem.

alex

It's all about the self-install (1)

mhoover (446585) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546685)

My local cable company will send out a self install kit, so you don't even need the moron cable tech. If you really want to have fun, put Linux on your machine, and watch them fumble around trying to figure it out!

Re:It's all about the self-install (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546709)

Or tell them you just want cable for your fridge cos it's running low on milk and needs to place an order.

Re:It's all about the self-install (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546751)

If you really want to have fun, put Linux on your machine, and watch them fumble around trying to figure it out!

Say, that sounds like an hilariously great time!

Aren't you the clever rascal!

was he wearing a suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546686)

did he believe in what he was selling you? or was he just out for his paycheck.

did IT come with an m$ poor sport payper hostage/ransom scam liesense.

you must NOT have agreed to the eulas, if he was clicking your mouse?

Mine didn't install anything, but (4, Informative)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546688)


He stood me up the first time, then when he did arrive, he told me that I couldn't have a dedicated IP, despite them having promised me that I could have one. He did however configure my machine to use the cable company's proxy server, and use DHCP, etc... After he was done, I just reconfigured it and hard set the IP address. I haven't had a problem in the past couple of years. Except for when my machine was off for a couple of days, and I had to re-configure for DHCP,and "steal" another address, as my old one wasn't available any more...

Nothing (5, Interesting)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546690)

"Just give me the network info. I'll do it. You have no business touching my machine"

"but that's what my instructions say to do."

"are you bonded?"

"Whats that?"

"It means are you insured in case I have to sue you personally for screwing something up"

"oh.... Here's the info."

Besides, I connect through a router. What possible good would THEIR software do me?

Didn't have this problem (5, Informative)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546691)

The Time Warner/RoadRunner guy simply came in, installed a new NIC, installed the cable modem, set up the new email settings in Outlook, and changed the IE homepage to their portal. I scoured the system when I got home from work (my wife was the only one here when he did the install) and was quite relieved that he didn't install any software.

New nic, heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546756)

ya they tried giving me one of those 10 base cards :/

Uninstall it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546692)

Uninstall it and don't worry about what it does. There're several reasons there's still a market for dialup, and this is one of them. The software is obviously Spyware, and I wouldn't be suprised if Adaware gets rid of it.

Reinstall the software and read EULAs (2, Informative)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546693)

It shouldn't be that hard, really. If there are anything in those EULAs you object to or don't feel comfortable with, cancel the service.

In that case, I hope your father didn't agree to some sort of contract.

Add/Remove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546694)

Just delete the crap and move on. Christ, why all the freaking hand wringing over something as simple as this non-issue - after all, you yourself said that the software was non-essential to the functionality of the cable modem!

At home (2)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546695)

my parents have DSL from the phone company. What they do is plug it in, then give you a CD and tell you to install it yourself. If you aren't careful it does some pretty crazy stuff. Your computer will turn into a giant ad for the phone company if you don't play it smart. There is one program you need to install though, its the one that lets you log into the DSL network. I don't know if it does underhanded things, and I forget what it's called. But the DSL is crazy fast, so I'm not going to complain.

They tried. (5, Funny)

MKalus (72765) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546696)

When I moved lately I had a guy come out as they needed to "configure my pc".

I showed him to my Linux firewall, he was surprised about the prompt but figured it was just DOS (ha).

Put in the cd, realised it was not DOS, took the CD out, turned to me and said: "Well, I guess you know what you're doing." And left.

Offically my Cable Provider (Rogers) is not supporting Linux / Unix but if you have a technical issue just bug the Second Line support and 99% of the time you get the Unix guy who answers your questions.

Re:They tried. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546840)

At least the guy saw you knew what you were doing and didnt waste your time.

interesting (5, Interesting)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546698)

Well, as a very first step, I would recommend against posting this to Slashdot. Let me explain with a little thought experiment. Presumably you are trying to "get the word out" about the Evil Corporate Spyware installed by your cable provider. Suppose you were to succeed, and almost every cable customer were to remove said software from his or her PC. Their demographics database would start to be pretty thin, and suddenly they can no longer use that information to defray some of the costs of running a broadband outfit. Best case, you get a rate hike. Worst case, the cable company goes out of business, and you're back on dialup (which, if you wanted to vote with your wallet against this kind of practice to discourage it, you could have done anyway). A better course of action would be to quietly uninstall everything the cable guy installed and keep it all under your hat.

nope... (1)

Knacklappen (526643) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546831)

I think there will always be Joe Sixpack who does not want to fiddle with the installation. As long as he can get his pr0n, everything will be fine. So, I don't see the harm in informing fellow /. readers about such practices.

investigate your cable connection (5, Interesting)

one_who_uses_unix (68992) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546701)

To understand exactly what is happening with your broadband connection follow these steps:

1.Connect PC, cable modem and a second PC (everyone has one :) ) to a simple hub ($20).
2.Run a network capture tool (tcpdump, snoop, ethereal, etc.) on the 2nd PC.
3.Boot your broadband PC.
4.Look at the traffic.

You should be able to recognize the DHCP negotiations and see whether anything unusual is going on. Odds are, all it needs to do is negotiate for an address, everything else is probably frill.

The next step is to install a 2nd NIC in the 2nd PC, load linux, connect the cable modem to that and the other NIC to your little LAN and use IP tables to set up a firewall and NAT.

That's tough (5, Funny)

ONOIML8 (23262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546702)

If you're going to play with their toys the you have to play by their rules. If their contract/TOS/whatever says you have to agree to have all that software and agree with the licensing to all in order to use their service, then I guess that's what you gotta do. But it's their system, their toys, so if you don't like it then don't play.

Now the installer was wrong. Very wrong. If you're gonna play by the rules then you should have read EVERY word of EVERY EULA and made the determination for each one. Since those are legal documents you would want to read carefully, perhaps consult with your lawyer on a few points. You could tie up that installer for a VERY long time. But for him to indicate that you accepted.....well, you might want to consult with your lawyer now.

Re:That's tough (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546733)

Maybe he agreed to it in the contract he signed, thus giving the installer permission to install every piece of software?

Maybe he wasn't necessary for the EULA's of this Broadjump kit.

Did you agree? Yeah, kinda. (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546703)

In all probability, one of those forms you signed was an agreement that extended the license agreement to you. So, even though the cable guy was the one "agreeing" to the EULAs, he was doing it on your behalf.

Not a damn thing (4, Informative)

Halo- (175936) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546706)

I suppose it depends on your provider, but to my knowledge, you shouldn't need a damn thing. Wanna test it easily?

1) Borrow a laptop with an ethernet card, unplug the power from the cable modem (some of them will only give a DHCP address to one MAC address at a time, and need to "forget" what they have seen)

2) Plug in the cable modem

3) Attach the laptop

Didja get an IP? If so, I'd say you can pretty safely whack the offending software. I seriously doubt it's needed. A lot of things (like a lot of those "connection sharing" firewall/router devices) would fail to work if it was.

Just like with drugs... (2, Interesting)

rocket_w (574235) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546710)

...just say no. They do not need to install anything, I would tell the cable installer that if he/she has to install the software, then you do not want the service. Cable companies want your business more than they want to sell your info. This is another fine example of people infringing on your privacy without you knowing.

IANAL but... (4, Insightful)

reimero (194707) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546712)

While I realize you and your family never agreed to the software, you did authorize the installation of the modem. At best, it's a very gray legal area. The ISP and software manufacturer can both claim the tech was acting as a duly authorized agent (which he was) and you can validly claim that this software was never mentioned as being necessary and that it was sprung on you without prior notice, which would undoubtedly have affected your decision to purchase.
Unfortunately, he left with a valid signature, which legally means you have accepted the service as is, software and all. You may be able to remove the software, but at this point, all you can do is complain about it. But once you sign the sheet saying the work is done, you've essentially stated that the contract (or that portion thereof) has been fulfilled to your satisfaction. I know it's a hassle, but if you have serious misgivings about it, the proper procedure is to decline signature and say you never authorized this software installation, and allow the tech to remove the modem. Then deal with the sales department. If you paid by credit card, remember that you can put a hold on that payment until it is resolved to your satisfaction.

I got lucky. (2)

Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546718)

The guy who came by when I got Road Runner (they didn't have self-install at the time) used his Linux box as his firewall too, so no guff about installation software.

.... that isn't really the biggest issue imo. (1)

anal_assassin (598740) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546719)

there's things seriously wrong with the cable company installing stuff on peoples computers (without asking) that will monitor they're demographics and report information about them (perhaps without them even knowing). ....someone should be able to sue the.. [unwanted kids] for this.. sure them for all they got :P !!

Re:.... that isn't really the biggest issue imo. (2)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546807)

"there's things seriously wrong with the cable company installing stuff on peoples computers (without asking)"

IANAL but I believe that signing that paper that the technician brought is legally all the consent they need to do whatever they want regarding their service. But will say it was not right of the technician to click through those EULAs like that.

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546720)

Instead of trying to get a bunch of pizza faced geeks to do your work for you, why not do YOUR JOB, you know, the one you are being PAID to do???

Lazy ass bastard

As for AT&T Broadband (2)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546722)

At least in my case, the guy didn't even _try_ to install anything. I was impressed that he even knew how to set up an iMac from the TCP/IP control panel (I've had horrid experience trying to convince broadband technical support to even talk to me if they know I have a mac). The only thing he tried to do was set the default homepage of IE to some broadband portal, and I was like "Uh, this is my girlfriend's machine, and you _really_ don't want to do that."

Then when he left, I whipped out the router and got everybody else on-line ;)

My cable guy... (1)

noz (253073) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546724)

My cable guy (on a slightly funny yet sad side-note) didn't have a PCMCIA network card and left my house happy having achieved his list of todos. I felt very empty waiting 3 days to get to shop for my own NIC to finish the job. The EULA was the least of my concern.

On a more valid note, in Australia I do know that Optus Cable [optushome.com.au] is a permanent connection and does not require any software whatsoever (and none is installed), while Telstra Cable [bigpond.com] requires softward because it is PPPoE and perhaps other non-standard things (for a very long time they did not use DOCSIS modems).

What scares me just a little bit... (5, Interesting)

writermike (57327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546731)

... is how when you search for "Broadjump Client Foundation" in Google, the company's own homepage doesn't come up in the early listings.

This says to me that either there are very few links to the company's homepage, or there is no company homepage.

Heh. Conspiracy therories entered here. 10 cents.

Re:What scares me just a little bit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546793)

ummmmm.... http://www.BroadJump.com

They are a reputable company in Austin.

Re:What scares me just a little bit... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546842)

.. Have you tried browsing to www.broadjump.com [broadjump.com] ?
From their website:

Hardware makes broadband possible. BroadJump software makes it profitable. BroadJump solutions allow broadband service providers around the world to greatly reduce operating costs and seamlessly enable the delivery of revenue-generating content, applications, and services over existing broadband networks.

Get rid of cable (2)

slutdot (207042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546734)

It sounds like your cable company is getting a kickback for installing the software on customer's PCs. I'd get rid of the software or the service if you don't like that sort of thing lingering on your PC.

I used to have TW Roadrunner quite a few years ago and in the beginning, a sign-on was require but that requirement changed after a couple of years. Now I believe it's a direct connection. Your cable company may be different though. I'd ask them about using Linux under their service to see if you can get them to tell you whether you need their software to access their cable service. Odds are strong that you don't. If they don't support operating systems other than Windows or Mac, they're not an ISP in my opinion.

Get the local news involved (5, Insightful)

Digital Mage (124845) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546737)

I say inform your local newspaper or television news station. As you say, since the cable company is almost a monopoly in the area, I'll bet a number of people would love to know about how their local ISP is "spying" on them without them knowing. Most local news outlets are always looking for juicy stories about companies screwing over consumers.

Practical Solution. (2, Interesting)

serial frame (236591) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546741)

Treat your computer like your property! Personally, I would remind the man that he is dealing with MY property, that EULA's are made to be disagreed with, and that I would no longer allow him to touch my property if he continues to install software without me agreeing.

This makes perfect sense to me, as there are great differences between my house and my computer. Fine, he can run a cable line through my wall; I don't necessarily feel like doing that part myself. But, nobody touches my computers.

Of course, the easiest way around this is just to be running some variant of Unix at the time. I think I scared (or baffled?) the poor man with my NeXTcube. He backed off and let me do the rest of the installation myself.

Unscrupulous g*ts (1)

cattlepr0d (195325) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546742)

How many of this guys customers will even notice what he's up to? How many will understand? The Windows-using masses are probably quite used to clicking 'Agree' on every EULA they see anyway. They're just going to think 'he's the technical guy, he knows what he's doing, I'll let him get on with it while I go and make him a cup of tea'.

It's not dissimilar from the guy who knocked on my door attempting to get me to switch electricity suppliers. He already had my name, he spoke for about five minutes then asked me to sign his form WHILE HE HELD HIS THUMB over the text reading 'I hereby agree to change to CrapCo Electricity' or whatever. I presume that this tactic must work on some people.

It comes down to the quite astonishing lack of clue in the population at large, I'm afraid...

I think you could argue.. (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546745)

.. That you didn't agree to any of the EULA's since it was the installer monkey who did the clicking on the "agree" buttons.

-jcr

ATT in richmond (2, Insightful)

freeefalln (541648) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546747)

AT&T Broadband in Richmond, VA installed that same shit on my computer. The tech was an asshole and I told him that I did not need software on my computer to connect through their lines, he got irate and told me that if i wanted to get online i had to have this software. I said kiss my ass, signed the papers and he left. I called AT&T and got a free month of service.

Just about all of my friends have that broadjump shit on their computer and willingly dont mind. Thats how the American public is, they dont care about privacy, all they want is thier cnn.com and marthastewart.com. They think that loss of privacy is what you give up when you go online.
Look at the millions of AOL users, who PAY, i repeat PAY, to be advertised to. They see like TV, the Ad's come with the territory.

Disturbing... (1, Interesting)

mkeke (563085) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546748)

I can see why this is bothering you...

But the question is: Since the cable guy agreed to the EULA, is he the "End User" or is it the owner of the machine?

My dad installed some dialup software from an ISP, but he had to remove it as it kept dialling all the time without him knowing of it, untill he suddenly saw the dialup-icon in the systray. Damn those ISP's ;)

da kekePower

Cable Agreement (2)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546749)

Neither myself or anyone in my family agreed to the software; the cable guy did.

Yeah, but you made some agreement with the Cable company and I'm sure their stupid software was included in that agreement.

I suppose an easy way of getting around this is to just tell the guy you'll sign his piece of paper if and only if he doesn't install the software.

And it's not wholey true that cable modems don't require software. There are some companies using point to point protocal to increase security or whatever. So some software may actually be required. My recomendation there is to have a Linksys router on hand. If the cable company doesn't allow them, wait for the cable guy to leave and then set it up.

Not every ISP uses this type of software!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546753)

As a Cable Modem (CM)installer, I can tell you I don't like installing software of anykind on a computer. I don't like even installing a Network Interface Card if I don't have to. My favorite install is a New G4 with OSX, so I just plug in and go. ;)

Similar experience (2)

Gruturo (141223) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546755)

Recently they brought fiber to my house, with a little permanent gateway which gives me 3 10Mbps ports plus a POTS for voip.

The guy insisted on having me insert the CD into the drive, which will then auto-run and open a welcome window with everything I need to know. For the first 45 seconds I tried telling him that being a Linux box (and without a graphic card at all!) I was very very skeptic about the procedure :-)

Then, since it was pointless to try and introduce him to the unix world in 10 minutes, I just tried a "dhcpcd eth1" and voila!, I signed the acceptance form as if he did everything and sent him away.

But if he would prove to be really really stubborn I would have just let him install whatever he wanted on a spare PC just to reghost it 2 minutes later :-)

RoadRunner (2, Informative)

IwannaCoke (140329) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546757)

I wasn't asked if I wanted a self install kit, so a tech came out. I was watching over his shoulder the entire time. The only things he did were reconfigure outlook, and change my home page to rr.com.

I asked him about the home page switch and all he said was that it was policy and I that I could change later.

EULA Whore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546758)

So not to ask a legality question on slashdot... well okay.. maybe I must...

Can I be your EULA whore?

You pay me $10/year and I will click 'okay' on all those pesky EULAs for you. I am willing to bind myself to those terms, so that you dont have to - for a small fee of course.

Of course, in the case of this cable installer, is he not commiting some kind of felony by installing software that you must use, but that you have not agreed to its EULA - thereby forcing you to commit a crime. And if it is not a crime, then the question remains: "Can I be your EULA whore?"

Been there (2, Interesting)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546762)

Having been a cable guy, all i can tell you is, we don't know what we're installing either. The cable company asks us to install the software on their disc, as part of the custom install. We don't ask questions. Most people who have the custom install are apes. Total green horns. They prefer to have all kinds of extra stuff to signify their connection to the internet, as opposed to it 'just working'

Chances are, if you ask your cable guy not to install it, he'll be more than happy not to, because he can get you to sign, and move onto the next house ASAP.

Cable Guy (1)

PegQuin (306581) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546765)

Write a letter to your Congressman, they have plenty to hide so they should be helpful. What do you think they're doing with your television viewing data?

AT&T will also take your old modem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546766)

Most likely the software is to mainly throttle your bandwidth or even monitor it it and shut it down if it goes over a certain limit. AT&T doesn't stop at software, they began distributing bandwidth "capped" modems after they began to oversell their network, that performed significantly less than their originals. On a sidenote about cable companies: their policy of charging for radio reception through the cable or having multiple tv's off of one split cable is ludicrous but they will enforce it. I had split my cable for radio reception (Howard Stern) and had left some of the bare copper exposed. Within a week I saw an AT&T van slowly stalking my neighborhood and eventually they knocked on my door and told me they had picked up a HUGE signal from my apartment. I promised to never do it again and promptly covered the exposed copper and reconnected it to my radio as soon as they left :).

Cablevision -- no problemo (5, Interesting)

nbvb (32836) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546769)

I switched from Speakeasy DSL to Optimum Online when I moved (No DSL in new neighborhood... d'oh!!)

When the Speakeasy guy came out 2+ years ago, I had done all the "inside wiring" myself (this was back in the dedicated-line days ...) The guy just looked at it, and said, and I quote "Damn! You did a better job than I would have." The guy literally handed me the DSL bridge (It's NOT A MODEM DAMNIT!), we plugged it in, he saw the lights "go green" and said "good 'nuff for me."

When the Optimum Online guy came out here (I needed someone to come out since I don't subscribe to cable ... DirecTV [directv.com] rocks), I had my Linksys router plugged into my iBook.

First thing he did was go outside, climb the pole and turn the line on. when he did that, the cable bridge (IT'S NOT A MODEM DAMNIT!) "went green" and that was that.

All he asked was to see me pull up a web page. That was good enough.

Seriously, don't give the guy the old chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. Don't sound like a clueless yutz, either. Just explain to the guy that listen, it's my machine and I'll install all the software on it, thanks. It's already configured for the network -- I read the directions (on the web, in the box, etc.)

The installers are usually _very_ cool about that stuff. In fact, the cable guy saw my Sun Microsystems jacket and started asking me some questions... we had a good long talk about IP networks and stuff, since he was looking to go to some Cisco courses and get outta the cable install business :)

Best of luck with the installs! Remember, don't give them an attitude, just convince them that your machine is all ready to go. Remember, if they get out of there in 5 minutes instead of 2 hours, it means they get to take a long lunch ;)

--NBVB

I Had to Help The Roadrunner Tech (1)

bono2001 (539564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546775)

Just got RR service about two months ago. The cable guy was late for his appointment (typical). I was at work and I had left instructions for my wife to give him some details about my configuration as I have several machines networked. I talked to the tech as he first got there and he told me that they had to install MS Outlook express whether I used it or not for email. I grumbled about not wanting that Virus magnet on my PC but the tech insisted. Aside from that the only other piece of software he messed with was Internet Explorer which he set to the RR page by default. Forget about trying to get them to install on Linux or anything non-MS. They have a specific drill they go through and if it isn't on the menu forget it.

The funny part came about three hours later at the point the tech was about to give up on my install. The modem was in, the software was in but the gateway wouldn't respond. I told him that I was on a static IP address and he'd have to change the setting to dynamic IP. I had to walk him through the steps to change the IP settings! A short reboot later and I'm setup.

I get home later that night and rip out outlook, setup Mozilla, buy and install a cable router and everything has run like greased lightning ever since.

BroadJump Client (1)

kalimar (42718) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546778)

This is really interesting. No really. I subscribed to AT&T BroadBand. They installed the BroadJump Client. I don't think I've ever seen it running on my system. The AT&T startup (which retrieves my account information) runs when I boot my machine, but there aren't any added icons in my system tray. I wondered about what the BroadJump client was but didn't really pay any attention to it since it never seemed to be running anywhere. I guess I'll check my system again when I get home.

The cable guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546787)

As in Jim Carrey? Heeeeelp! [imdb.com]

Stupid installers (2)

pirodude (54707) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546794)

My cable installer tried dropping the cd in my linux box and wondered why it wasn't auto running. The he explained that you couldn't get online without their software. I proceeded to restart the network and grab an ip and up popped /.. That shut him up.

a way around it (2)

eagl (86459) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546795)

I keep an old PC around for experimentation and I had the cable guy install everything to that PC. When he was gone. I re-ran the cable to my firewall.

Consumers won't get a foothold with complaints because 99% of custmers (myself included) are happy enough with finally having high speed internet that they aren't willing to rock the boat.

Lock it out with a firewall? (1)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546796)

Can you use firewall software to lock down any crap they install on there? With the firewall I have installed, any time any application tries to hit the 'net I get a notification and an opportunity to shut the bastard down. Perhaps it's not an ideal setup, but at least I know who's trying to talk to the 'net behind the scenes. If they *have* to install their junk on your system, this is possibly one way to maintain your privacy a bit...

It varies from installer to installer (1)

gotr00t (563828) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546797)

A couple of months ago, I got cable installed, and the installer person seemed to be more trained in installing cabler service for televisions, and not really at installing broadband for computers. Therefore, after he installed the cables, he gave me a software package, and merely offered to install it, but instead, I just stopped all network services, then started DHCP... got an IP address, and it started to work.

Since I use Linux, he couden't install the software anyway, so, it really depends on what ISP you use. I use Time Warner, and their contract only provides that the service personnel provide a working connection... there is no clause for installing their particular software package.

Just do the Common Sense thing... (5, Informative)

RobertAG (176761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546798)

On Windows,

Press START, SETTINGS, Go into Control Panel, Select Add/Remove Software and remove the offending software.

If they complain, invent a ficticious "Computer Guy" who told you it was the reason your system was locking up all the time.

Mention that you have lots of games and Internet Explorer "add-ons" that you have downloaded and installed. Believe me, NO technician will want to muck about through a myriad of windows software installations to troubleshoot their spyware.

They'll go away.

Oh, it gets even better... (slightly OT, I guess) (1)

GORDOOM (149962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546804)

When I had cable internet installed in my room in res this year, the installer came and did the hookup of the actual cable modem, and then handed me a TOS agreement for me to sign.

"OK, just let me read through it and then I'll sign."

"No, you have to sign it now. You can read it later."

"No, I'm going to sign it after I've read it."

"I don't have time to wait for you to read it. Just sign it now!"

"Like hell I'm going to sign a legal agreement that I haven't even read!"

At this point, the installer stormed off in a huff, muttering insults to me as he went down the hall. He never did come back to collect the agreement from me. For a second I was worried that he was just going to pack up and leave instead of hooking me up...

Missing the point (2, Insightful)

drafalski (232178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546808)

I am sure most any Slashdot reader could remove the software or just go with a self-install kit. My parents, or a lot of my friends, could not. I think the issue here is that these people - ones who probably didn't watch/notice all the EULAs being clicked for them - are being monitored/tracked/whatever as if they had given their consent.

The installer has acted as their representative without their knowledge or consent. While the EULA would easily get tossed out if they wanted to fight it, they wouldn't know there was anything to fight and they would have already been monitores/etc already.

And yes, I know the ISP monitors traffic anyway, but it is different when they are installing software on your computer and agreeing to a EULA for you.

Shady Installers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546812)

I think that the cable installed was going to do the same thing to my PC when he came in to install it. Luckily I am running an "unsupported" OS (that being Gentoo Linux), so he had no idea where or how to install software on the machine.
I believe that the reasoning behind the cable company saying "es, a tech has to install your modem. No, you cannot install it yourself." is the fact that they want to install THEIR software on there.
Originally I had DSL through my Telco. The guy came in, installed Netscape and a Novell Client, neither of which I had previously. And the guy never even asked. When I confronted him on it, he actually looked scared when I started growling at him for installing software on my PC that he never asked, nor I requested. He made up some excuse that I was going to need Netscape in order to browse the web because no other browser worked on their system. I just rolled my eyes and told the guy to hook the modem up and get out, I would do the setup myself. Poof! He was gone. LOL

The exact opposite (5, Interesting)

radish (98371) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546815)


In the UK when a guy from BT cam around to install my DSL he did the exact opposite. They're specifically not allowed to touch my PC as they're not insured for any damage. So the engineer has a laptop, he plugs in the modem and proves the line works. Then I sign him off, he gives me the modem and a driver disc and it's up to me.

Of course this was 2 years ago, these days the engineer doesn't even come over...

my foot was down (1)

ronaldcromwell (596642) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546816)

when i got my cable installed, the modem had to be 'activated' via a piece of windows software. (i run a mac, so we had to use my dad's computer) being the asshole that i am, i drilled the install guy about what he's to do if someone doesn't run windows. alas, he was a fool and had no answer. he ended up installing the software, and i wouldn't let him leave until i had removed it, rebooted the computer, and established that the modem would still work.

Charter did this during the switch over (4, Interesting)

zietlow (199661) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546823)

Charter did this during the switch over from @home. They installed thier client and said you HAD to install this otherwise you could not get on the internet. It ripped out ALL your network settings and then replaced it with all thier and MS's "personalized" corporate feces.

They also said they did not turn on the software, but after portscanning all of Charter's IP space that Arin said was allocated to them over 13,000 computers had this port listening out of over 25,000+ (4.5 Class C's) were actively listening for connections and would accept a connection if you telnetted to the port. Whereas scanning a non charter IP subnet there were less than 20 that accepted this (I don't have my numbers with me ATM).

The wonderful fellows at Securepipe.com [securepipe.com] Looked into this and brought it up with the local "watch dog" columnist for one of the local papers who wrote an article about this. Charter was not happy. The guys at Securepipe also brought this up with the local cable commission. Who were semi interested in this issue. About a week later port filtering was in place, including port 641 (what the software runs on).

They said the use was for the ability to remotely help users. Yes this is a nice function to have, but what if this fell into the wrong hands? The Broadjump software is based off of an older version of VNC that has some weak authentication issues. And also dealing with Charter and @home techs I wouldn't trust these people with my computer anyway. I don't trust my mother with my computer.

This was back in Novemeber/December who knows what they could do now.

wi2600.org [wi2600.org] You can read the threads here, many to list and you can see the research that we did to get into this. I do not know if an electronic copy of the mentioned newspaper article exists but if it does, I will try and get it posted.

Charter installs VNC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546826)

I got Charter Pipeline last year and I installed the software on my WinXP box. It put this hideous white and blue Charter branded skin on IE's buttons. While searching through the Broadjump directory to figure out how to remove the ugly skin, I found vnchooks.dll. I immediately wiped the system and reinstalled the OS. I then called Charter and told them that they are being paid for net access only and I never gave them the right to monitor my computer (there was no verbal or written statement given to me by the installer about the software). I was told that they use VNC to get system configuration in case I'm having trouble with my net connection. Umm, if I'm having trouble with my net connection, how am I supposed to get my computer to communicate my info to Charter's tech support? Idiots. The man then told me that since I have WinXP, that people can use Remote Desktop to communicate with my machine. I told the idiot that I knew about remote desktop and I have it disabled and at least Microsoft told you about the feature while installing the operating system.

In short, don't install cable modem software. Get an external cable modem, an ethernet card, and a Linksys router. That should be all you need.

It's My Computer (1)

kentborg (12732) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546827)

I don't let anyone install things on my computer. And I am not much interested in my installing their software for them. And I certainly am not attracted to the clueless folks who run cable systems.

But when I subscribed to DSL back when (*not* from the clueless phone company) I was intending to have a Linux machine on that wire, but I had a Macintosh ready to demonstrate whether it worked or not. I guess I would have let him install software over my frowns. But I would have wiped it after investigating.

-kb

Tell them you're running Linux (2)

srussell (39342) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546833)

That's what I did. They didn't even look at my computer. Of course, I wasn't lying, but that's not relevant.

If he needs a signature ... (1)

IsThisNickTaken (555227) | more than 11 years ago | (#4546834)

Don't put up a fuss and sign it as "Daffy Duck" or "Mickey Mouse".

Now, what if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4546835)

.. . uninstalling this software and using the connection without it would require you to "circumvent a copy protection" ?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...