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Have You Really Read Your ISP's TOS?

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the haven't-read-mine-that's-for-sure dept.

The Internet 428

NewtonsLaw writes "XTRA, New Zealand's largest ISP is in the process of losing customers in droves after it announced its new Terms of Service which seek to claim rights over customers intellectual property (see the Slashdot discussion). Now, if that wasn't enough, Aardvark Daily reports that the ISP is also banning its users from saying bad things (anything 'detrimental to our reputation or to our brand') about it. I wonder how many slashdotters have actually read their own ISPs' terms of service in detail? Is this type of IP-grab and clampdown on free speech is unique to Xtra or is it slowly pervading the whole industry, right across the globe?" Read on for Xtra's amendments to the original IP-grab terms, though.

Reader THX1138 points out that "After the very recent story on Xtra (New Zealand's version of AOL) they changed the IP section to include 'Xtra does not claim ownership of any content or material you provide or make available through the Services. However...' at the start and 'in each case for the limited purposes for which you provided or made the Customer Materials available or to enable us and our suppliers to provide the Services.' at the end."

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fp? (-1, Troll)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691491)

fp? Wow

First Pussy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691585)

The Slashdot guide to getting laid.
  1. Successfully post the "First Post"
  2. ???
  3. Get Laid
Do let me know how you get on Mr. grasshoppa.

Re:First Pussy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691647)

Speaking of getting laid...

I've been on the internet since 1992 and I can remember time when gay sex (both photos or stories) made me gag.

Ever since I started reading Slashdot (around 1996) I feel I've become more and more desensitized to gay sex and these days, to my horror, I actually get aroused by some of it.

So my questions is: can a weblog make you gay? I mean, if I keep reading Slashdot, will it eventually turn me into an insatiable cum-slurping cockgobbler that thinks nothing but how to get his tight ringpiece wrapped around around a thick, fat and pulsating male cock.

My ISP's terms are very simple... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691493)

With the legalese stripped out, they say: We're not responsible for what you do. Don't do anything illegal under local, state, or federal law. Don't use up enough processor time on the shell box that other customers can't. Don't screw with the network.

Re:My ISP's terms are very simple... (3, Funny)

Crapflooder Supreme (574259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691631)

You're sure it doesn't say "\/\/3 0\/\/|\|Z04Z j00! \/\/oo+!!!!!!11!1!!"? There's a surprising number of ways to translate that into legalese, you know...

I only know of one... (1)

comet_11 (611321) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691693)

EULA

omg (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691495)

my first fp!? :D!!!

Re:omg (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691508)

stupid 20 second bullshit. >:(

Re:omg (0)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691635)

Don't feel bad, you'll get lucky eventually, and then get modded to troll ( note: I'm not saying I don't deserve it, but how many times would you get a chance to get FP on /.? )

giving up common carrier status (5, Interesting)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691497)

If they give up common carrier status and start controlling and owning everything on their network, does this mean that if terrorist sites or kiddie porn appear on their network, their CEO and board of directors will be habeas corpused off to Cuba? Or whatever the equivalent thing that New Zealand does to people they don't like.

Re:giving up common carrier status (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691527)

Or whatever the equivalent thing that New Zealand does to people they don't like.

They get sent to Australia.

Re:giving up common carrier status (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691556)

Or how about Elizabeth, New Jersey? It's a penal colony for the 21st century!

Re:giving up common carrier status (5, Funny)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691557)

...if terrorist sites or kiddie porn appear on their network, their CEO and board of directors will be habeas corpused off to Cuba? Or whatever the equivalent thing that New Zealand does to people they don't like.

We believe in very harsh punishments for such things...I believe traditionally we just send them to Australia.

Jedidiah

Re:giving up common carrier status (3, Informative)

alister (60389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691588)

I don't know about New Zealand, but Australia's quite happy with Guantanamo Bay.

David Hicks [fairgofordavid.org]
Mamdouh Habib [uts.edu.au]

This is in spite of calls by the Australian Senate [aph.gov.au] for their release [altnews.com.au] .

I believe that New Zealand still retains some degree of self-respect.

Re:sig (1)

Cs.Ender (615148) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691637)

Having worked at a McDonalds, I believe it...

Re:giving up common carrier status (1)

sp1nl0ck (241836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691598)

If you do stuff people don't like in New Zealand they make you do what they call an "extra safe bungee jump".

They call it that because, to minimise any risk of the cord breaking, they use a chain instead.

Re:giving up common carrier status (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691681)

Actually that is a slippery situation a lot of companies have gotten into. Some banks and such write blanked TOS for their employees basically taking legal responsiblity for anything they do on the computing system. Anything, that is, including piracy, theft, fraud, murder, child porn, etc.

This New Zealand ISP may be asking for more than it can handle if they're actually taking the whole lot unfiltered. Time to troll their users for illicit material then sue the pants off that ISP because they are saying that user is a representative of their corporation. Something every US ISP hides from using very powerful laws normal companies only wish they had.

dull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691498)

Obviously what's needed is contract regulation. There are few things you can't sign away now... life, limb, that sort of thing. Clearly signing away rights to IP is equally incompatible with our way of life.

If they want to stake claim on my IP... (5, Funny)

jazir1979 (637570) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691503)

...they can have my slashdot posts!

Nothing intellectual there, really :p

simple answer (0, Offtopic)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691504)

"Have you ever really read your ISP's TOS?"

Nope. Being 19 and not having a good job really sucks, especially with the knowledge and learning curve I have (I ended up teaching the computer classes my last year in high school), but at least I get to live with my parents and leach off of their paid internet access.

working at an ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691505)

is do work at my own ISP - so i doesn't have this problem :)

Re:working at an ISP (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691514)

I'd say you have a problem with the English language though.

"clampdown on free speech" (5, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691507)

Is this type of IP-grab and clampdown on free speech is unique to Xtra or is it slowly pervading the whole industry, right across the globe?

At what point did free speech become global?

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691547)

Around the time that America decided that you should all be free. For their version of free, of course.

Thanks America, our benevolent overlord dictators of the world!

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (3, Funny)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691658)

benevolent overlord dictators of the world

You write that as if its an insult.

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691565)

All speech is free until repressed.

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (4, Interesting)

alister (60389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691600)

Indeed. [theregister.co.uk]

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (4, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691622)

At what point did free speech become global?
Just because the USA has free speech in it's constitution, doesn't mean that they have a patent on it. Of course there's no global right to free speech, but does that mean we should just shut up when it's threatened? I don't think this is a free speech issue really, though.

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691632)

I agree free speech isn't global but I can't believe that people in NZ aren't allowed to express an opinion when there are facts to back it up

Rus

Re:"clampdown on free speech" (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691667)

At what point did free speech become global?


I cannot think of a country that does have free speech... but that does not mean that we cannot gripe and bitch about it.

I don't need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691515)

In my country customers have still some rights and there is also a freedom of speech.

Thus I can critize my ISP and have rights for all my creation no matter what TOS says.

A *GREAT* ISP (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691516)

I live in the Portland/Metro area of Oregon and I *love* my ISP (http://www.easystreet.com).

They are geek-friendly. They encourage limited sharing of your DSL bandwidth (I mean, as long as you lock it down with a password so not every yahoo driving buy can use it) and offer a lot toward the wireless community in Oregon.

Not to mention, they have great policies about allowing you to run non-commercial web and email servers (which is important for me since I do a lot of small testing stuff) and are staffed by a lot of good people (some I've worked with before in a former life).

Everything you could want in an ISP, they are. I have never had a problem with them. Period. They are always friendly, helpful, have 24x7 support. Even their second and third tier tech guys will get paged and call you back in the middle of the night if you are experiencing a severe problem.

They also have people familiar in supporting non-windows OSes (mac, linux, etc) and offere their own tutorials for home networking.

Overall they are very cheap (compared to cable at least - especially if you want static IPs. For the cost of one static IP with Comcast, you can get eight here).

I've been with them for three years and since I work from home, I make HEAVY use of the DSL service. Qwest provides the actual line and I've only had two or three issues in all three years, total. One was due to a hardware problem at the PO-LOC (Qwest problem, obviously), one was due to the ISPs backbone getting torched for a few hours and another was up in the air - but eventually fixed itself.

I would say that I have had approximately two days of down time in these three years. Remarkably good for all the benifits you get.

Re:A *GREAT* ISP (1)

flokemon (578389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691655)

This sounds like you still work with them!

My experience has taught me a few things when it comes to choosing ISPs, which fall roughly into 2 types:

- The big corporate ones, targetted mostly at home users, although some do have business customers as well. They're the ones likely to introduce those weird clauses in their TOS, or to provide poor service because they're big and they don't care anyway, if some customers leave, they'll get new ones who have seen the TV ads or picked up a CD at Walmart. A lot of those ISPs originate from their country's phone company too.

- The smaller ones, and those that are mostly targetted at business users. If you're on the same lines as business users, the ISP will have to react really quickly in case of problems on their networks. If you need support they won't only support Windows. Downside is that you probably won't be a priority for them, but if they keep things running smoothly for business users, they'll run smoothly for home users as well.

Re:A *GREAT* ISP (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691687)

I've been happy with Megapath for a few years now. They consist of mainly business customers and there is no separation between home and business users (no separate number, for example). I currently have 1500k/384k (roughly) with a block of 8 ips. I also have reverse DNS delegated to my nameservers. They have also fulfilled a few special requests that I have made which probably fall outside of their policies. However, I've gotten many good people on the phone there and really can't complain. The service is stable as well and I always get full speed through my line. Overall, I'm satisfied :).

Of course it is. (4, Insightful)

zorgon (66258) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691517)

This is the next big thing for corporations to do, is to attempt control the content that flows over "their" wires. Fortunately governments have failed to control encryption (intentionally? adjust aluminum hat if you think so, but maybe) so this might not be as ominous as it first appears. But if the courts cooperate (i.e. subpoena your key) then ... hilarity may ensue.

Re:Of course it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691599)

1.) Control all content that passes through servers
2.) Collect World's Largest Porn Colllection
3.) Masturbate
4.) Profit

Eh.

Re:Of course it is. (4, Funny)

dknj (441802) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691651)

My mom's ISP, RCN, does control the content that flows over "their" wires... I quote from the Internet Access Agreement [rcn.com] :

(m) Scrolling. You agree not to cause the screen to "scroll" faster than other subscribers or users are able to type to it, or any action to a similar disruptive effect on or through the Access Service.

Usually I just skim through the TOS to find my unlimited download and upload limits and find crazy lines like the one above.

-dk

Re:Of course it is. (2, Informative)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691691)

Xtra does not claim ownership of any content or material you provide or make available through the Services.

XTRA isn't claiming any property right on what you put on the Internet, such as Slashdot postings, email or files you upload to third-party web hosts. It's just claiming a right to redistribute content that you put on your XTRA-hosted website. I don't see anything wrong with that... if they don't declare their right to do so, you could sue them for redistributing your copyrighted material after you put it on their servers.

It's careless how they phrased it though. Basically they claim they can use, copy, and redistribute your materials for whatever purposes they want, not just serving to web site visitors. In my opinion, they will probably clean this part up after they realize their mistake.

What TOS? (1, Interesting)

LamerX (164968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691520)

When I signed up for my ISP, I just called a number out of the phone book. After giving them my CC number, they just gave me a username and account... They never mailed me anything, I've never read any TOS, nor did they tell me to read anything over the phone... Does this mean that I've agreed to something? Could I have sold my soul to them without ever actually saying or signing anything?

Right. (1)

jmays (450770) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691521)

I used to work for an ISP and even then I didn't know the TOS!

TOS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691523)

I haven't read my TOS yet, but I can tell you that my ISP is a total piece of sh

Microsoft (-1, Troll)

Bill Lurker (660637) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691524)

Can't wait to see the terms of my windows software to include all derivative rights belong to Microsoft.

Scare tactics (1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691528)

In my experience TOS agreements are more about "this is what we can do" rather than what they actually do.

Does anyone have a report where they have actually followed through with the terms and taken someone to court or terminated their connection because of this?

__________
cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au] for vanity domains.

Re:Scare tactics (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691605)

Does anyone have a report where they have actually followed through with the terms and taken someone to court or terminated their connection because of this?

Do you mean besides spamming?

Re: Scare tactics (1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691628)

Nup, I mean for not giving up their intellectual property to the ISP, or bad mouthing them.

________
cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

Re:Scare tactics (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691690)

At an ISP where I used to work I have actually disconnected people for spamming. Its almost fun to listen to them screaming and ranting when you just say goodbye and hang up :)

Rus

Criticising your ISP (5, Insightful)

flokemon (578389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691532)

If they need a clause forbidding their users to criticise them, then it's A LOT of criticism they must be trying to cut down.

I hope it won't influence ISP's like BT, Freeserve or Wanadoo, who could probably want to end the bad reviews they get from their customers too. If their users are not allowed to say how shit they are, how will others find out that they should not sign for them?!

EULA -based censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691679)

One of the reasons that there are so few actual reviews of Microsoft products is that the EULAs forbid unfavorable reviews [infoworld.com] . Press releases abound, but even a relatively favorable evaluation tends to show flaws that would rule out selection of the product.

IIRC the MS-Frontpage EULA does/used to forbid using it to publish pages unfavorable to MS.

Other NZ ISPs (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691540)

There are other good NZ ISPs, XTRA is simply the biggest because it is owned and run by the local phone company (who have, in the past instituted a few interesting changes to phone line use policy that made it very expensive for other ISPs).

Still, the good news is that everyone is leaving. A large company with some degree of market dominance will often do something nasty - but it just takes people actually doing something about it to make such practices much harder (Telecom eventually got burned on their new phone line policies a while ago).

Hooray for people actually standing up for themselves. GO the New Zealanders.

Jedidiah

Re:Other NZ ISPs (4, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691617)

There isn't anything like public opinion to give companies a wake up call. When it starts hitting their bottom line they will wake up and notice

Rus

Re:Other NZ ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691624)

everyone is leaving

So, all 3 people decided to leave that ISP.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691543)

Are such things products of an enlightened society, or just another expression of the barely repressed barbarism that seethes within the hearts of all men?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691587)

You have to ask?

Look... (1)

faaaz (582035) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691546)

IANAL, but you can't remove laws with a piece of paper. Sure, you could have signed it, but that still doesn't give them the right to your IP.

Anyway, I'm not familiar with laws in NZ, but if what the ISP is doing is legal, then NZ needs to look over this one more time.

Have your read Network Solutions Terms of Service? (5, Insightful)

g00z (81380) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691550)

Speaking of insane "agreements"....

The other day I purchased some domain space and dusted off my old domain name I had sitting around for about a year. When I went to change my DNS records via netsol, this is what I got:

"It's appears you haven't agreed to our new revised terms of service. You must do so before you proceed."

So, before agreeing to something I haven't even seen, I went and checked it out. HOLY JESUS -- The thing had to have been about 300 pages long. Besides being soaked in legal double talk, the thing was straight up unreadable in size. This is not service agreement, it's a freaking tome! Needless to say, while I tried to read it, it was all too much and I just agreed to it in the end. I mean, I just need to change a DNS record, not spend 2 days trying to digest the most uninteresting thing ever written. Besides, what if I saw something totally evil in there anyway? Chances are, I would have agreed. What am I going to do, let my domain name go to waste? I already payed for it. Shenanigans!

It's a sad state of affairs. Shouldn't there be some sort of limit on the length of a TOS agreement? It reminds me of the old cartoons where somebody would pull out some insane contract with a library of congress's worth of text on the bottom that could only be read with a microscope.

Re:Have your read Network Solutions Terms of Servi (3, Interesting)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691638)

You complain about the agreement, but by agreeing to it, you mearly re-enforce that it's okay for them to do it. There are countless registrars out there now. Most will allow you to transfer a domain name for their annual fee and then include a 1 year extension so the transfer is basically free.

By clicking you agree, you're voting with your dollars, and that's all that matters to these companies.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:Have your read Network Solutions Terms of Servi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691682)

I just transferred my domain from Network Solutions over to Go Daddy.. Cheaper and much better service.. and no I don't work for Go Daddy I hear Joker is cool as well.

Re:Have your read Network Solutions Terms of Servi (2, Informative)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691664)

So, before agreeing to something I haven't even seen, I went and checked it out. HOLY JESUS -- The thing had to have been about 300 pages long. Besides being soaked in legal double talk, the thing was straight up unreadable in size. This is not service agreement, it's a freaking tome! Needless to say, while I tried to read it, it was all too much and I just agreed to it in the end.

They changed the agreement quite a while ago, and like you I freaked out when I read it. Unlike you, I have left the "agree" link unclicked for months, while I slowly move my domains to other registrars. There are better (or equal) companies, why not move to them?

wow (1)

playagame (652532) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691552)

Anybody who stays with this ISP has no respect for their own free speech or privacy. I would write some intellectual property about how bad my ISP sucks for thier intellectual property rules. That is some irony for ya.

Haven't seen it (1)

certsoft (442059) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691553)

CenturyTel didn't send me anything like that for DSL service, and there isn't a copy on their website, although they do have the info for dial-up service online. Maybe ignorance is bliss?

Well... (3, Informative)

ATAMAH (578546) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691555)

Here is a bit of insight from a New Zealand resident. Xtra is actually an internet branch of Telecom New Zealand. Telecom NZ has been a monopoly here for a very long time, right untill a few years ago (about 4 years, approx.) a weak competition arrived in form of Clear. Weak, because Telecom owns the cabling throughout the country... Then australian Telstra came in, merged with clear and put their own cabling. Anyway, to cut it shorter: Xtra has always been obnoxious towards their customers, since there wasn't much choice in terms of decent internet service. However nowdays if they keep on going like that - they ARE going to loose big time, cause there are other ISPs available that do not depend on Telecoms bandwidth.

In Breach (5, Interesting)

mvdw (613057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691562)

Before today, I'd only given the TOS a cursory glance, and I found that I am regularly in breach of a couple of the terms:

  1. "You must not maintain or permit multiple concurrent connections to the Internet Access." - I connect through a smoothwall firewall, which is connected to several computers, quite often two of these are in use concurrently;
  2. "never recording Your password on Your computer, and safely storing Your password"; - The password is stored on the smoothwall (encrypted, but still), so that anyone that knows the smoothwall password can access the internet... contrary to TOS above, it seems ;-)

I don't really care too much, though, because it's only a dial-up connection, so the connection is inherently throttled...

That's just funny... (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691636)

"You must not maintain or permit multiple concurrent connections to the Internet Access."

Yes, god forbid I should have multiple concurrent conections to "the internet access". Does that mean I can't read the web while downloading something? Christ, every modern web browser uses at least two concurrent connections to download a page, usually four.

never recording Your password on Your computer

What a joke. So they've banned the feature in many web browsers which lets you save (auto-enter) login information for your low-security sites.

How gay.

listening devices? (1)

automag_6 (540022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691568)

Aardvark Daily reports that the ISP is also banning its users from saying bad things

how do they know what you say? spyware must be getting awfully advanced, I mean, they can moniter what you type, but...

Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (4, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691576)

My local ISP just started to roll out DSL. Our current service is 56k dialup limited to 90 hours per month. We pay about $30 for that.

The new DSL is 1.5mbps "best effort". They have not mentioned any download caps, but they will probably be on the way soon. The worst part of the TOS is the restriction on NAT/PAT.

They say that they can detect how many computers are on a network. For each computer, you have to pay an additional $60 for the exact same bandwidth. They don't even give you another modem for the extra $60.

Anyway, how do you think they are detecting NAT/PAT? Is there any way to stop this detection? I had planned on running Gentoo or *BSD as a firewall, but paying more money for the exact same thing seems harsh to me.

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (2, Informative)

ender81b (520454) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691618)

To my knowledge there is no way in heck they can detect another computer behind a Nat. It sounds like BS or a scare tactic. Absolutely ridiculous.

While I on the subject of crappy ISP's I don't understand what is the point of all these conditions. I have friends that work for a fairly large (state-wide), very profitable, ISP that has none of this. Heck they even allow you to resell the service if you so desire. As they say, as long as they make money why should they care? As they see it these restrictive terms drive people directly to them. For instance they started reselling Time Warner's Cable service. TW prohibits Web Servers and such but they do not. Result - alot of customers switching over to them because of the less restrictive terms of use.

If you are in Nebraska, or western edge of Iowa some areas of south dakot and Kansas, I highly recommend Internet Nebraska [inebraska.com] , they provide DSL, dialup, and cable and their terms and conditions [inebraska.com] are extremely reasonable. Not to mention they are nice people. =)

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691674)

Yes, well your knowledge isn't quite exhaustive, is it?

Did you even try googling for detecting nat [google.com] and clicking on the first link?

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (4, Informative)

lpontiac (173839) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691621)

Anyway, how do you think they are detecting NAT/PAT? Is there any way to stop this detection?

It may be due to initial sequence numbers, or possibly the way that a computer responds to IP packets with certain header options set (although I'm not sure if that would be possible when NAT is involved). You could probably get around it by having OpenBSD do the NAT - as it can basically rewrite NATted packets so it looks like it's all coming from the OpenBSD box. The OpenBSD pf firewall is being ported to other BSDs too, apparantly, so you might find you can get it to do the same thing on FreeBSD.

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (1)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691656)

The OpenBSD pf firewall is being ported to other BSDs too, apparantly, so you might find you can get it to do the same thing on FreeBSD

Yes, yes, yes, but does it run on Linux?

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (2)

alister (60389) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691660)

Anyway, how do you think they are detecting NAT/PAT?


Any number of ways. You might note different OS/browser references, or other differences in the way traffic is going from the ISP to you. The problem you face is that I reckon quite a few people will have DSL modems that are also routers. I know I do. And their TOS would seem to preclude this very sensible use of simple tools to protect your computer.


Find another ISP, if you can.

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691661)

Terms of service? Um, I don't worry about the TOS. I contact the ISP and let them know what I am going to do. I let them tell me what packages are provided for the service desired. I take bids. It levels the playing field quickly. You can get exceptions written into your TOS. When I was on Dial up, I even got permission to have an ocassional dual connection at no extra charge. I told them due to my work schedule, I may be home during the day while the wife is at work. She may check e-mail while at work while I was home surfing the web. No problem. Got it in writing. This doesn't mean sharing the account with all my extended family. That would be a violation of the TOS. It pays to ask for any exceptions you need to the TOS. Your milage is better with small local ISP's and not national mega ISP's. Mega ISP's legal department are too busy to consider the exceptions.

Re:Kinda OT: NAT/PAT (2)

Zeddicus_Z (214454) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691669)

Counting NAT'ed hosts [att.com] . It's possible (due to the non-random way most OS's handle the IPid field (NOT sequence numbers) in TCP headers.

AFAIK OpenBSD has a side-project going to negate this technique. However, i seriously doubt your ISP is actually putting this method into practice - its just too much work.

Legality (4, Funny)

inaeldi (623679) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691577)

I've always wondered though, how can companies actually make clicking on an "OK" button legally binding? No witnesses, no signature, nothing. Although the best one I ever saw was "By opening this package, you agree to the terms and conditions contained within."

This could be a liability (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691579)

If they claim ownership of the IP, they become instant targets of the RIAA and BSA. They are no longer a communication carrier.
This could backfire on them.

The T&C changes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691580)

The important bit is that they have said they don't own it, but that...
you grant to Xtra a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide licence to do the following in respect of the Customer Materials:

  • use, copy, sublicence, redistribute, adapt, transmit, publish, delete, edit and/or broadcast, publicly perform or display, and
  • sublicence to any third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the rights granted,

Re:The T&C changes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691608)

And the good part would be that you promise that any material you download from other parts will have to be transfered to Xtra ownership by your account.

Cabel Act & ECPA (1)

streettech (637063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691586)

I have read my ISPs TOS and it's pretty scary. They site laws under the 1984 "Cabel Act" and Electronic Communications Policy Act of 1998 (ECPA), that basically say that they can monitor everything I do. They can collect the following types of personally identifiable information name, phone #s, home and work addresses, SSN, and credit card #s, billing, payment, damage, security deposits, maintenance and repairs, and # of PCs and configuration. Also under the Cable Act they may collect personally identifiableinformation without your consent, and they can disclose all this information to anyone without your permission. Under the ECPA they can monitor all your communications. And the time that they can retain this personally identifiable information is as long as they want.

Broadband != live video (1)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691591)

From my broadband ISPs T&Cs:

5.6 The Customer warrants that:- 5.6.1 it shall not transmit or receive live audio or video across the Supplier's Network or use the Services for any application which in the Supplier's opinion results in an unreasonable demand on the bandwidth;

I break these most weekends :(

Didn't read it (2, Funny)

termos (634980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691592)

I didn't read the TOS, but I used it as toilet paper.

Re:Didn't read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691642)

cheap shot for the karma?

Re:Didn't read it (1)

tedDancin (579948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691686)

I didn't read the TOS, but I used it as toilet paper.

That's okay, the fine print should still be on your arse somewhere..

Submitting your own content... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691594)

to /. is fine. But why do you never admit to it? Are you afraid the editors might reject your articles as too much self promotion [aardvark.co.nz] . Or is this just a lame attempt to up your profile. Do tell...

One example [slashdot.org] worked well, even if it lacked much original thought.

Anonymous - oh the irony...

Atlanta ISP changes (5, Interesting)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691595)

ISPs change-hands so often here, it's hard to keep up. When my ISP spontaneously became Comcast one month, I asked them to send me a new TOS. They said that their TOS was the same as AT&T's, but have refused to provide them. Am I bound to something they won't give me?

Re:Atlanta ISP changes (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691634)

Probably. That is what the "we can change these terms with no notice" thing at the bottom means.

Sigh. Damm lawyers and greedy bastards.

Anonimisty (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691603)

So basically what they are saying is that I can't even have an opinion. If I really wanted to just get round it then I would either connect via another ISP, unless they are a total monopoly or use a service such as Cotse [cotse.net]

Rus

"Have you ever read your ISP's TOS?" (1)

Crapflooder Supreme (574259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691609)

I have now. [uiuc.edu]

What does Unlimited mean? (0)

deadfishhotmail.com (548162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691611)

I was proud to be the recipiant of a letter from my ISP [inreach.com] informing me that I was among the "Top 50 Users."

I looked down further to see what I had won but sadly they just wanted to double my yearly fee. I was like "whoa." So I called them and asked what kind of plan it was I signed up for. They said that since I was in the top 50 I would have to pay more or move to DSL (and then pay more). Well I was all thinking maybe you know, this dsl sounds pretty nice, pretty nice [homestarrunner.com] But sadly it will not be available in my area "until ever." As the rep explained. So I looked at my statement which said I signed up for something called "Unlimited 56k Dialup Access*" The asterix said something about the 56k not really being capable of going that fast. So I asked the rep what Unlimited means. He said it means up to a point, I fired back like umm you mean "with bounds"? He said no not really.

The trouble was this overworked billing bloak didn't know what his company was advertising. He explained that if my modem stays connected for more than 7 hours a day it causes damage to their modems. Needless to say that it crap for crap. So then he said it didn't do damage but it disallowed other users to dial up. But that;s not even in the TOS I explained.

Dunt dun DUNNNN- The TOS the Terms Of Service- or Talk Of dirty rotten Shist depending on which end of the phone you're on. So he says he'll show me where. 1 minute later I'm on hold. 8 Minutes later he says it's the limited bandwidth clause section 6, which I hapeened to be very farmiliar with. I explained to him the perils of dialup and how real it was ABSOLUTLY IMPOSSIBLE to consume any significant amount of bandwidth on a 56k dialup, gee_willicars them city folk-a jus duna untersand!

He agreed. I asked for the Manger and he said the only person above him was the CEO who was needless to say "Out to Lunch" or if you're on the other end of the phone holy crap I'd better cover my ass.

Well it ended up this way, I called back and asked for Susan, the CEO 8 times one day an hour apart, but she was out to lunch from 9 till 5. I though about driving over there and looking for the overweight broad (See I know shes overweight because she's always eating lunch) but since I'm just a really really lazy person I just canned my service there and started an account at Lanset [lanset.net] who despite having a really awful website and horrid DNS servers have been pretty good to me with 60 MB free hosting, no setup fees $96/year and I can have my whole lan sharing the connection legally.

Ok bye. and oh yeah to answer the question I did read the TOS before purchases from both ISP's. InReach just eats.

Re: What I requested (0)

deadfishhotmail.com (548162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691630)

Oh yeah and I asked them to change their policy to match their advertising or change their advertising to match their policy (At least qualify unlimited).

Me

I'm still looking - Post your TOS here (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691615)

I posted this [slashdot.org] in the other article - perhaps this should be an Ask /.

Oh well, here is mine [hickorytech.net] .

All that crappy DMCA stuff was added this Feburary, along with some MAC address (and more?) logger named DHCPatriot (I have a deep-seated hatred for all things named Patriot) from these guys. [fng.net] Anyone know anything about this?

Comcast/ATTBI (4, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691619)

Back when they were ATT Broadband, the user agreement said something like:

-no servers(web, FTP, mail)
-explicitly bans "discussion boards"(!?)
-if you have a wireless node, it must be locked down- no access to anyone other than YOU
-cannot be resold -clauses prohibiting using the connection for offensive/harassing/etc. communications(I guess if I type "shit" here, I just violated that. Oops!)

...among other things. It actually explicitly states that it is provided exclusively "an entertainment service", and that the users are "consumers" of that entertainment service. All this, despite the fact that they constantly market it as "Little Suzy can download her homework, Mommy can upload her work files while she's home from the office to watch Little Suzy", etc. They played the 'research for homework' angle incredibly heavily during the back-to-school period.

The kid's using it for research, Mom's using it for work, in the ads. That's not "entertainment", people. I hope mommy realizes that she's using an "entertainment service" that can go down, and Comcast has zero obligation to take care of it.

Oh, and AOL just started blocking SMTP connections from all of ATT/Comcast's customer IP ranges, to "fight spam". While yes, some systems get hacked and used as relays, that's easy for Comcast to fix(they can disable the connection instantly) if reported..and AOL also blacklists hosts on their own now; why couldn't they just blacklist systems if they send spam? Nevermind that most spam comes from eastern europe and Asia these days.

But hey, it's all good. We get to watch incessant commercials with Lance-whatever-his-name-is(the biker) talking about how "when you're a newcomer(comcast just bought att-bi), people expect you to make a name for yourself"...uh, no shit. Meanwhile, comcast had to back down from YET ANOTHER forced domain name change for everyone's email accounts because of the massive uproar(mediaone.net->attbi.com just a year or two ago, and now attbi.com->comcast.net because ATT wanted to keep attbi.com) and we can't get any other high-speed access, because Bell won't sell DSL in areas with cable internet(and what they're selling is overpriced crap anyway- 1mbit/96KBIT(!!!)

All of this in one of the most technology-rich areas(Eastern MA, 128/495 corridor)...

I'll tell you right now... (2, Insightful)

discore (80674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691625)

They sure don't. Let's forget about shadey TOS policies like the ones above and talk basic, basic things, like service contracts.

I have the (mis)fortune of doing tech support for a rather well known, privately owned ISP. It's a cool place, our TOS is totally reasonable and includes thorough mentioning of a 1 year service contract. But why is it 90% of the time I bring up the $300 early-contract-termination fee when someone is cancelling for whatever reason inside of their contract, they start to freak out? I'll tell you why, they didn't read the TOS. They just checked the checkbox without thinking twice.

Since Sales always tells this to people making phone orders, the vast (99%) majority of these people signed up all online, and never even bothered to look. I sure as hell read my ISP's TOS before I even get one step into the ordering process. I must not be a normal person.

In conclusion, I can promise you that 70-80% of our users have never read the TOS. I wouldn't be suprised if 40-50% didn't know what TOS meant.

Verizon seems cool about it (1)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691633)

Besides defending P2P users, Verizon also has some other nifty things.
Until I am proven wrong, I love Verizon's TOS, because they provide a newsgroup account with my DSL account, and THE ONLY LIMIT is on connections. I can not connect to more than 5 groups at one single time. Anything else is fair game. I have yet to receive a bandwidth bill or notice. And if I do get a notice, I'll be sure to bring up that part of the article.
(I had to be 100% sure because I was about to download the 1.5GB monster Area51MX CHD file in a.b.e.m.)

Profit, IP, ISPs and wafer thin margins... (1)

nosfucious (157958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691652)

A couple of factors here: (1) something that is essentially passive (ignoring helpdesk, initial setups, etc) always gets screwed in terms of price. Providers have to provide "value added" services to actually make a $ or two. Telephone services are the same, basic banking services, fast food, etc are similiar. There's no way to cut costs OR increase revenue that can't be quickly and easily stolen/copied by your competition.

(2) IP is seriously screwed. It has lost its ability to encourage invention for the greater good, but as is seen as revenue fodder for coporations. It's too broad a brush and lasts too long. Furthermore, research wage-slaves rarely benefit from it to such an extent that a huge paradim shift in the various fields (medical, chemical, artistic, etc) are not encouraged. In fact these corporations have a vested intrest in maintaining the status quo and their ability to make profits. (This is not the fault of the corporations, but rather their legal framework that they operate in.)

So, getting back on topic, an ISP with static or declining revenues according to thier "prime directive" (profits) has too seek to leech all possible revenue sources. IP just happends to be an untapped resource.

My solution: 1, corporations should not and never own intellectual property. Corporations do not have a brain. They cannot conduct research. Corporations can be the conduit for distribution of property, but they can never own/infinite lease/have exclusive license it.

2, ISPs should be regulated services, in a similar method to water, electricity and gas (in some areas). Maybe it's not an essential service, but one where it's better for the community to provide the service. This doesn't mean corporations can not provide the services, but put the control back in to the community. (Control is probably a bit harsh, but I'm waiting for the caffine to still enter the blood stream and blood to my eyes).

AOL has a new TOS for you.... (4, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691657)

An interesting take on TOS agreements is AOL's new policy of imposing one on the rest of the Net by rejecting any connection to their MX servers on port 25 (incoming mail) before even negotiating far enough for the client to issue a greeting IF you are coming from an IP address that AOL considers to to be "dynamically assigned" (I have no idea how they define this, since my host is not in the MAPS DUL or any other blacklist I can find, and AOL's "tester" page refuses to tell me what they think is the problem because they want to reverse-map my IP and send a report to that domain, rather than by connecting to the IP itself or showing me the results on a Web page).

This effectively means that no broadband, dialup or other ISP customers who get an IP address when they connect will be able to send mail directly to AOL, you wil instead be forced to use your ISPs or some other willing SMTP relay which AOL considers to be worthy of peering with. No more end-to-end TLS encryption and/or verification; no more routing around overburdoned ISP mail hubs.

There is as yet no indication that I've seen one way or the other on what they're doing about DELIVERING mail to such addresses, but if you run your own mail server, be prepared to find that AOL.com no longer exists (which you may not consider "bad", exactly, and in fact I currenly have no plans to route around this particular damage other than to get my relatives to find new ISPs, even if that means going to MSN... *shudder*).

Many have made the argument that this is reasonable for AOL to do because many ISPs have TOSes that ban servers. So far, the standard retort has been 1) no ISP bans direct-to-MX transmission of mail except where it is spam 2) most ISPs don't enforce said rule (and tacitly encourage users to roll their own) 3) not ALL ISPs have such restrictive TOSes, and of course 4) that's none of AOL's business when receiving an incoming message.

For those who are interested in details, here's the almost useless blurb I get when telneting to port 25 on any random AOL MX host:
550-The IP address you are using to connect to AOL is either open to
550-the free relaying of e-mail, is serving as an open proxy, or is a
550-dynamic (residential) IP address. AOL cannot accept further e-mail
550-transactions from your server until either your server is closed to
550-free relaying/proxy, or your ISP removes your IP address from their
550-list of dynamic IP addresses. For additional information,
550-please visit http://postmaster.info.aol.com.
550 Goodbye
Good luck!

Re:AOL has a new TOS for you.... (1)

tria (556457) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691695)

It may be your hosts IP address... I just connected to an AOL mx server from my broadband connection...

Post each others' sites (5, Interesting)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691662)

If I upload someone else's data, I have no right to grant the ISP the rights that they claim, therefore they don't have those rights. What I'm unsure about, however, is whether their terms of service prohibit me from posting material that I do not have the right to grant rights over. If so, then I probably can't post any GPL'd software. Let's look.

Hmmm, this is interesting:
You agree that all content, software, personal identifiers (including addresses) and anything else we make available to you in connection with our Services (together "Works") are protected by copyright, trade marks and other intellectual property rights and laws.
So no posting Project Gutenberg texts, then. Taken literally, anything I post has to be trademarked.
You warrant that you will not:
  • license, assign, otherwise transfer, make available or grant any interest in any part of the Works to any other person
So, no GPL'd software that I wrote then, but presumably other peoples' GPL'd software is ok.
Xtra does not claim ownership of any content or material you provide or make available through the Services ("Customer Material"). However, by placing any Customer Material on our Websites or Systems (including posting messages, uploading files, importing data or engaging in any other form of communication), you grant to Xtra a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide licence to do the following in respect of the Customer Materials:
  • use, copy, sublicence, redistribute, adapt, transmit, publish, delete, edit and/or broadcast, publicly perform or display, and
  • sublicence to any third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the rights granted,
in each case for the limited purposes for which you provided or made the Customer Materials available or to enable us and our suppliers to provide the Services.
Seems reasonable, they need the right to distribute the data, they might want to keep an archive, and they might want to sell that archive as an asset. Note the limiting nature of the last paragraph.

IMO, there's nothing sinister here, although the first section I quoted is just incompetently written.

Sounds a lot like.... (1)

unclethursday (664807) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691680)

The UCITA. If this law gets passed in each state in the US, then it can become a violation of EULAs to even criticise the product or company making the porduct. Of course, the UCITA also says the end user doesn't need to see the EULA in order for it to be binding, so the companies will most definitely try to go that route.

Is it a wonder MS is strongly pushing for this law?

A message from Mr. "I hate Oceania" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5691683)

That whole area of the world is pretty draconian if you ask me. Yeah, that includes you too Aussies!

They must not value individual rights down there.

Nothing onerous here (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691688)

I have used and been 100% happy with my isp APK.net for the last decade. If you are in N.E. Ohio I highly recomend them. There aren't any really bad clauses in their TOS which can be viewed Here [apk.net] . The only things I don't like is the no lan clause (actually this is only in the dialup TOS and is kind of bunk because the owner specifically recomends a NAT'ing firewall for DSL service so I doubt it's ever been enforced), and the account placed on hold for a no-hangup program clause which again I have never heard of them enforcing (I ran some bots for a while and they never questioned me about the line being connected for 21 days straight =)

Prestel was doing that in 1986 (4, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | more than 11 years ago | (#5691692)

The thing about 'no derogatory comments about our service' is nothing new - in the mid to late 1980s, Micronet (and Prestel), an online service in Britain, also had the same thing. And they did threaten to kick off a friend of mine for complaining about Micronet in one of the message boards.

Their AUP also didn't allow any kind of profanity in the message boards, either!

They did have some good things (such as Shades the MUD, which is *still going* - telnet games.world.co.uk, yes, it's on port 23).

That's not to say it's right. The "you must only say good things about us" clause was incredibly dumb, and people often pushed at them, just to see how far they could go.
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