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Will ISP Web Content Filtering Continue To Grow?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the altered-beast dept.

Censorship 239

unixluv writes to tell us that another ISP is testing web content filtering and content substitution software. One example sees a system message that is pre-pended to an existing web page. While it seems innocent enough, is this the wave of the future? Will your ISP censor or alter your web experience at will? There have been many instances of content filtering lately and it seems to be a popular idea on the other side of the fence.

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239 comments

Rogers sucks. (4, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647403)

Goddamn, I hate Rogers. At least they're being honest with their bandwidth caps now. Unfortunately, I find myself in the position of having to switch fairly soon to a cable-based service as the phone lines in this apartment are horribly old and low-quality. My experience with TekSavvy [teksavvy.com] has been great from a customer service standpoint but it seems any DSL line I get here will be subject to the same problems, problems my landlord is almost certainly not willing to fix.

I know about 3web but I've heard some fairly bad things as well. Can anyone recommend some non-DSL, high speed (5+ MBPS), preferably low-cost ISPs in the London, Ontario area?

On another note, I'm almost certain this is going to cause unforeseen problems for Rogers, or at least their customers. I'm glad I don't do tech support for them...

And as pointed out in TFA, this has some pretty evil possibilities. Barring the obvious censorship issues, who's to prevent Rogers from replacing, say, Google Adsense scripts with their own ads? They already do it with Bell ads on their digital cable. Don't believe me? If you have Rogers digital cable, you'll notice that there are some ads that play on every channel that has commercials. If you look closely at the start of these ads, you'll usually see about a half second of another ad, quickly replaced by the Rogers network-wide one. These preempted ads are usually for Bell ExpressVu, Rogers' main (satellite) competitor.

But, like most cable companies, they remain because they have a monopoly on the cable market. Ultimately, this is the problem that needs to be solved before the rest, and I don't see it happening any time soon.

Google (0)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647659)

Google will go absolutely ape if an ISP filters THEIR ads. Expect lawsuit city if that one happens... or Google just throwing some cash out there and building out their open ISP network.

Re:Google (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648821)

or Google just throwing some cash out there and building out their open ISP network.
That may be the solution, right there.

If the "free market" is working the way it's advertised, someone will come along set up an ISP that does NOT filter content or inject their own ads or throttle p2p or whatever, and customers will fly away from the restrictive ISPs and sign up with the "open" provider. It remains to be seen if this actually happens. It's my theory that the "free market" is just some bogus concept taught in econ schools to support the corporate plutocracy, so if I'm correct, there won't be a sudden insurgence of competitors in the ISP space.

Of course, if the telcos have their way, Net Neutrality legislation will never be passed, so the entire issue will be moot. We WILL end up with a censored internet, throttled (or blocked) p2p traffic and slower performance for "non-premium" (extra charge, in other words) content, and the Internet as we know it will cease to exist.

If the freedom activists have their way, then there will be Net Neutrality legislation, and we may actually prevent a "locked-down" Internet.

History teaches us not to bet against the big corporations. They buy legislators the way we buy oranges.

Re:Rogers sucks. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647739)

Get some bonded T1 lines or a T3 line, setup a server or three and start leasing out hosting space or run your own DSL-based or wireless ISP service. Or both.

All it takes is competetion (2, Insightful)

T0wner (552792) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648227)

Sooner or later the ISPS will start advertising "We dont restrict your usage, unlike ". The market competition will provide us net neutrality not government intervention

Re:All it takes is competetion (1, Insightful)

gallwapa (909389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648419)

Untrue. The cable/telcos will ALL do it because they have monopolies in their respective areas (at least here in the US). There is no competition - there is only collusion.

Re:All it takes is competetion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648459)

Sooner or later the ISPS will start advertising "We dont restrict your usage, unlike ". The market competition will provide us net neutrality not government intervention

You mean they'll start advertising "We don't restrict your usage. No, really! Your slow downloads are entirely outside of our control, and the fact that 90% of the time when you type www.google.com you get yahoo's site is entirely because your typing sucks!"

After all, the ISPs aren't exactly running out and advertising that they are filtering. Whats a few more lies to go with the rest of the marketing?

Also doesn't help in those places where the government isn't intervening to force cable/phone companies to share the lines.

Re:Rogers sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648553)

> Can anyone recommend some non-DSL, high speed (5+ MBPS), preferably low-cost ISPs in the London, Ontario area?

http://www.canadianisp.com/ [canadianisp.com] lists several ISPs who claim to offer cable-based Internet including two with no bandwidth caps. Execulink is a SW ON based reseller. (Their HQ is just up the 401 from you in Burgessville.) Although I have no personal experience with them, I know several people in the K-W area who love their DSL service.

And like you, I just gave Bell the boot (30-days notice) and will be switching to Teksavvy DSL.

Re:Rogers sucks. (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648685)

Barring the obvious censorship issues, who's to prevent Rogers from replacing, say, Google Adsense scripts with their own ads?

Google. IANAL so I don't know what legal angles they can take, but pulling that sort of reverse proxy meddling is probably at least a copyright violation. The Rogers reverse proxy server would have to download the Google or other content provider's page, strip out the ads and drop in their own. In other words, they're creating cached copies and modifying them to deliberately deny the copyright holder revenue and replace it with their own unauthorized ads to derive additional revenue.

That's deliberate theft, imho. The fact that Rogers is doing something similar on digital cable is interesting. I suspect they have an agreement in place with the TV networks explicitly allowing them to do this, i.e. Bell doesn't pay rates including the Rogers viewers that don't see their ads, Rogers pays the Networks to compensate the lost ad revenue from Bell, and the books at least balance. If they just unilaterally chopped ads they didn't like out of broadcasts they don't have permission to modify . . . well . . . yeah . . . that'd be a lawsuit real quick.

I'll just go build my own internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647413)

With Beer! and Hookers!

Hmm. What's to stop (2, Interesting)

zonky (1153039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647417)

The code being appended breaking websites in some browsers? People disabling javascript?

Re:Hmm. What's to stop (2, Interesting)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647713)

It could be inserted as static text, preprocessed on their server side instead of a script appended to the page. That way the source would look just like Google had put it there themselves. I can't imagine that's legal, or at least I used to think that stuff wouldn't be legal.

Re:Hmm. What's to stop (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647815)

If I remember correctly a few ISPs were toying with the isea of actually rewriting webpage code, not just inserting a little javascript for flavoring. That's the problem. ISPs could modify web page code that isn't easily blocked without blocking the entire page. not really much is preventing them from inserting text-ads for example into a body of text on a web page.

Re:Hmm. What's to stop (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648289)

That would be great. Then everyone would have an incentive to use encryption by default.

Um, use email or texting (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647447)

I would love it if my ISP could just email me or text me to let me know of problems. With 90% of the cell phones out there capable of receiving texts and at least half capable of getting email it seems like the logical choice. Any ISP that dares to intrude on my web surfing will get the boot.

Re:Um, use email or texting (2, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647765)

90% of phones capable of receiving texts? Your kidding right? I remember the Nokia 5110 (basically a n402) was released in 1998 (I owned one on pay as you go then too) was capable of 192 charracter sms messaging, My Nan's BT Cellnet own brand analog phone (this predated both the digital antenna's and the GSM sim card standard) which she bought in 1996 was capable of supporting text messages and that was a cheap end phone. (it was still in use until O2 forced a discontinue of service on that model for technical reasons.)

In the last ten years I have taken a keen interest in mobile phones and never seen a model which does not support SMS messaging, heck in the last 4/5 years I don't think I've seen a phone which doesn't support picture messaging (well ok the iPhone doesn't, but then the phone you can get free from Asda when you buy £20 of credit does.)

Its always puzzled me why ISP's won't text you about network outages, filtering and bandwidth limitations.

Re:Um, use email or texting (4, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647873)

Its always puzzled me why ISP's won't text you about network outages, filtering and bandwidth limitations.

For the same reason Water companies don't contact you and tell you about all the leaky water pipes in your area, they don't want to be sending negative news to everyone, it makes them look bad.

If they can blame you for breaking their terms and conditions, that makes you the bad guy, but if they sent a text telling you all the latest things they'd decided to not let you do, regardless of whether you were doing them, that makes them the bad guy, and customers would start leaving.

Re:Um, use email or texting (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648305)

Yes but after spending two hours trying to get a connection to work and anouther 40 minute phone call (my expearences with Tiscali) I'm now ready to tell everyone how much Tiscali as a broadband supplier suck. A text message telling me they have placed me on the secondary network which has crashed and may be down for three/four days would have gone slightly further towards softening my attitude about them, a text informing me my use was nearing the high end and much further use on my "unlimited" account would get me disconnected/bumped onto a high latency network. Instead tiscali forced me to work out their FUP limits the hard way.

A small text message to let you know things have gone wrong can go a long way, espeacially when things have broken which are out of their control and the only way to find out yourself is being stuck in a phone queue for a minimum of 15 minutes.

p.s I don't want emails, Tiscali and Tesco have both emailed me in the past about account problems, the problem being I can't log into my account to read their email.

Re:Um, use email or texting (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648825)

Some companies do not sign up for text messaging plans. Even if you have a sms capable phone if it does not have a text messaging plan it cannot receive messages.

Sue 'em (4, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647483)

There should be no ambiguity here. They have no right to modify that information. What they are doing is tantamount to forgery, perjury and impersonation. Sue the hell out of them until they stop or go bankrupt.

Re:Sue 'em (1)

SeeManRun (1040704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647591)

Instead of suing for everything, we could just make a law to prevent this. However, the members of government have no desire to lose a source of revenue for their campaigns, so really they won't do it. Unless the voters have a say... wouldn't that be a concept, asking voters what they want instead of deciding for them because of your own personal benefit. Oh what a glory that would be!

Re:Sue 'em (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647753)

I don't know what the situation is in Canada, but the fact is government just doesn't work, especially when it comes to matters of the internet. Maybe in 10 or 20 years when more politicians than not have actually seen a computer before, but for now it just doesn't.

It sucks, but frankly the only way for regular people to actually fight big business is through the courts.

Re:Sue 'em (4, Insightful)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647947)

Instead of suing for everything, we could just make a law to prevent this.

Filing suit is part of the process of enforcing certain already-existing laws.

You might just as well say, "Instead of arresting people for everything, we could just make a law to prevent murder."

Re:Sue 'em (1, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648091)

Instead of suing for everything, we could just make a law to prevent this.

Filing suit is part of the process of enforcing certain already-existing laws.
He's a socialist. They believe that you can never have too many laws.

 

Re:Sue 'em (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648269)

Or that people will obey them simply because it's the law. Prohibition worked like a charm, didn't it? ;-)

Re:Sue 'em (2, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648371)

That law exists. It's called "copyright." It's typically enforced through lawsuits.

Re:Sue 'em: we *have* a law (2, Insightful)

coats (1068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648611)

Because it is for commercial gain, the act of introducing web advertisements into a third party's web pages is felony copyright infringement..

Whenever you see this happening, do a screen capture and a "save page" to preserve the evidence, and then notify the webmaster of the page whose copyright was infringed, suggesting that this someone is committing this felony infringement of their rights, and that they need to do something about it before the statute of limitations on such action expires.

Re:Sue 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648577)

I wonder if you could make the case that they are infringing on the content creator's copyright by modifying the finished content without permission? Seriously, by changing stuff like this, the ISPs should at least lose common carrier status. I don't think the telcos would be able to get away with running 30 second ads prior to or during your phone calls. The cable channels can get away with it because they negotiate that right with the content providers but the ISPs aren't doing that with the web sites.

Alternatively, use hardware accelerators to encrypt all web traffic in https. Then, if the ISP throttles encrypted traffic, sue them under the DMCA on the grounds that they forced the web site to encrypt the contents to maintain editorial integrity and that the throttling is an attempt to circumvent the encryption by forcing the web site to use a modifyable protocol under pain of reduced service.

What do you think? (5, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647495)

Get ready for the encrypted web.

Sign of the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647537)

Or the cleartext signed one. "Opera has detected that the signature of this web page is invalid. Please disable Norton Internet Security, you idiot."

Re:What do you think? (3, Insightful)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647671)

I would love to see end to end encryption become standard. I know that it creates overhead, and as the admin of several small websites, I know the implementation can take longer, but I would still like it to become standard.

The only way that ISPs could then exert control would be through messing with DNS records and redirects, which has far larger implementations. OpenDNS anyone?

Re:What do you think? (2, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648261)

I would love to see end to end encryption become standard. I know that it creates overhead, and as the admin of several small websites, I know the implementation can take longer, but I would still like it to become standard.
Agreed. I don't want anyone messing with my websites. If I load up Slashdot, I want to see what Slashdot published on their site. I don't want any additional banners/ads/whatever...I don't want text selectively changed... I want to see Slashdot. And when I publish a website I want to know that visitors are seeing what I published, not what their ISP thinks they should see.

The only way that ISPs could then exert control would be through messing with DNS records and redirects, which has far larger implementations. OpenDNS anyone?
Our regional cable ISP started manipulating DNS not too long ago, so we started switching people over to OpenDNS. But lately they've started playing with SMTP. You have to use the ISP's SMTP server unless you're a "business" customer...and of course their SMTP server will only relay for their own mail addresses. So we've had a lot of angry home users who can't use their email accounts. Hooray for webmail!

Re:What do you think? (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648629)

I worked for an ISP in the 90s and we considered a Premium Filtered internet option. The big deal back then was trying to filter content for the children. Our VP wanted to look into having two tiers of service, keeping in mind it was all dialup at the time: Unrestricted access to the internet (the base package at $20 per month back then), or a "Safe" premium connection that used filter tech on the ISP side to reduce the porn and viruses (at $40 per month, yes for dialup).

In the end we didn't try it out becase the market research showed that people weren't willing to pay for it. Our backup plan was to offer a client side software solution. I wonder if the market has changed since then? Would people pay a premium for access that WAS filtered? I mean, if you're not surfing P2P, maybe you want to get that porn a lot faster and know that the RIAA isn't going to knock on your door?

Hopefully this isn't too offtopic...

This corresponds to what Microsoft wants to do (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647511)

This corresponds to what Microsoft wants to do: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/14/043200 [slashdot.org]
In each case, we and our equipment are seen as walking ATMs, providing dollars to the corporate interests. Two things, if there was a "right to privacy", it would block both Microsoft and the ISPs. Net neutrality would be more problematic, but it could be argued that rewriting web pages is interferring with the content providers (Google).

Re:This corresponds to what Microsoft wants to do (2, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648377)

What about common carrier status? In countries for which this is relevant ISPs have indemnity for data passing through their systems which they merely transfer. However, if they're modifying a page then do they become liable for the its content as a whole, and thus vulnerable to libel etc. charges?

Is there money to be made? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647525)

Or power, for ego stroking?

Answer those, and you have the answer to your question.

Sites that don't want to be filtered will go SSL (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647555)

Sites that don't want to risk having their ads stripped or replaced will shift to SSL.

When enough big-name sites do that the economic incentive to insert or replace ads will drop off.

Re:Sites that don't want to be filtered will go SS (1)

Mr_Magick (996141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648517)

True, but the [expensive] infrastructure to provide the ad stripping and replacement will already be purchased and in place. It would be a huge oversite to let those resources sit idle. So, they will continue to strip and replace on any content they can get their hands on. As content moves to SSL they just don't have to keep all of the servers stripping ads and can start re-purposing some of that power. Maybe the could make them into SSL proxies! Yeah!

!Content-Filtering (4, Informative)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647581)

Just to be clear, what Comcast has been caught at is not content-filtering. They have been breaking connections based on the *type of the connection*, not the content contained therein. Let's call what Comcast is doing by a more descriptive name. I propose Context Filtering. This way, we have QoS (throttling throughput while leaving it operational, etc.), Content-Filtering (watching the data going through and responding to the actual data) and Context-Filtering (watching the type of connection and reacting to that, such as SMTP connections, HTTP connections, BitTorrent connections, etc.) These terms are not interoperable, and shouldn't be treated as such.

-G

Re:!Content-Filtering (1)

Butisol (994224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647733)

What does it matter what you call it? The effect is pretty much the same. Nice try you shill scum.

Re:!Content-Filtering (3, Insightful)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648775)

It matters what you call it because people need to have at least an inkling of what they're talking about. It's happened in other threads, and it will likely happen in this one, that the issue is confused for net neutrality, a completely separate side-issue.

Also, content-filtering and context-filtering are two completely different issues. With the former, I can't see any way you can claim common-carrier status. With the latter, I'm not sure yet. For instance, if I'm a common carrier, I'm pretty sure I'm still allowed to pick what *kind* of things I carry. I am under no requirement, for instance, to support carrier-pigeons on my network. Likewise, I may be under no compulsion to support bittorrent transfers on my network. On the other hand, I *am* supporting TCP/IP traffic, so it seems I should support *all* TCP/IP traffic, provided it conforms to the spec I am claiming to support.

So, by that logic, anyone claiming common-carrier status (i.e. Comcast) should not be allowed to perform content- or context-filtering. The problem is getting them to define what context(s) they carry. I have no doubt that if it came down to that, Comcast would *not* claim to be a common carrier of the TCP/IP context. They would instead claim far more specific contexts, such as SMPT, HTTP, etc.

All of that aside, I think it's bullshit and Comcast should have their feet put to the coals for the fraudulent data they're transferring. They are actively performing a man-in-the-middle attack on those whose traffic they are supposedly neutrally transferring.

Long story short--and I apologize for all the rambling above--it matters what you call it because that changes what bullshit excuse will be used in court.

-G

Re:!Content-Filtering (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647813)

I propose a new terminology: Geraldine Job, named after the Lily Tomlin character.

Basically, Comcast is listening to your conversation, deciding that it is going on too long and/or you are talking about something they don't like, and pulling the 1/4" plug, forcing you to repeat the call. And then doing it again.

Don't like it? "Sorry, we're the ISP - we don't have to care."

Re:!Content-Filtering (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647897)

Just to be clear, what Comcast has been caught at is not content-filtering. They have been breaking connections based on the *type of the connection*, not the content contained therein.

Actually, we don't know the criteria they are using. We know they're breaking bit torrent connections, but it is unclear if it is all bit torrent, or just a subset. Do they take into account the source and destination of the connection? Do they take into account other characteristics?

I should really now the answer to these questions and I'll ask some people who should know. Up until very recently I worked for the company that supplies Comcast with some of their traffic shaping tools which they are probably using to do this. They have the capability to shape based upon more than just protocol (including deep packet inspection), I just don't know if they are doing so right now.

These terms are not interoperable, and shouldn't be treated as such.

True, but I think you're still oversimplifying. There are really three types of filtering/shaping:

  • based upon content - this is a censorship issue and should be banned for common carriers like Comcast.
  • based upon traffic type - his is a valid way to prioritize data provided it is done honestly and preference is not given to a data type that is no different from another, except who is using it (ie, slowing down VoIP traffic using the protocol of a competitor, but not VoIP using the protocol Comcast themselves use).
  • based upon source and/or destination - this invariably leads to price gouging and differential pricing which is an antitrust issue and should again be banned for common carriers.

Re:!Content-Filtering (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648575)

In regards to your three bullets, I agree. I actually added QoS as an aside, and it didn't really belong in my list. Your list is more correct, in laying out the three topics we all love to debate around here: content-filtering, context-filtering, and network neutrality.

The big point I wanted to get across, though, is that these three terms are often used interchangeably, when they really ought'nt.

-G

Re:!Content-Filtering (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648541)

Let's call what Comcast is doing by a more descriptive name. I propose Context Filtering.

Let's call a spade a spade here - it's a Denial of Service (DoS).

Re:!Content-Filtering (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648603)

For the moment, I'm not concerned with the mechanism. Instead, let's all get on the same page about the essence of what they're doing, and then we can get get upset about how illegal their chosen method is. ;)

-G

Fuck You America! (-1, Offtopic)

Matthew Jenner (1201197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647613)

I'm 24 years old. I don't want to go through the next 50 years of my life living in an international air of worry and uncertainty. I don't want to live in a permanent state of fear, generated by a megalomaniacal American government taking advantage of the majority low IQ populous' capacity for being brainwashed.

I don't want to live like Israel, fighting militant Muslims round every corner. The problem of Muslim extremists exists and needs to be dealt with, not encouraged by invading innocent countries and waging war on people who have done nothing to deserve it. I want my children to grow up in a world free from military oppression and I want a government that understands that the wars of the future are guerrilla ones which can never be won, even if they are waged for noble purposes (which theirs never are).

The world is fucked up enough as it is. The food chain has been poisoned so badly the average human is full of chemicals normally found in plastics and toxic waste. I'm sick of global warning and environmental damage to the planet and the fact the all this time the greenies were right. I'm sick of America being the biggest wilful contributor to the pollution of the planet.

I'm sick of an American school system that produces children who are brought up to believe that America IS the world and anything that goes on outside is irrelevant. Children so stupid they think America invented the Internet, computer, motor car, light bulb, telephone etc ad infinitum....

The Internet or it's successor is the future of entertainment and I'm sick of stupid low IQ, ignorant Americans infecting every corner of it with their insular, jingoistic mindsets, their whiny voices and manifestations of their low self esteem driven by the fact that despite it being their turn as the world's super power, no one actually takes them seriously or gives them the respect that the British or the Ancient Greeks got because a superpower best known for producing mass produced crap is never going to get the respect that one who gave the world Shakespeare, culture, philosophy or mathematics will get.

I'm sick of hypocrisy and two facedness. I'm sick of Gangsta Rap and hamburgers, Political Correctness and TV programmes that begin with 'When' and end in 'go bad and attack people'. I'm sick of reality TV and I'm sick of news programmes that are more censored than accurate. I'm sick of tokens, token minorities, token universities, token degrees, token attempts at the truth, tokens. I'm sick of fat people, ugly people, stupid people, gay people, coloured people, female people, whiny people all complaining they don't have the opportunities in life they would like and it must be someone else's fault. I'm sick of women that act like men and femininity being a crime, unless you're a man in which case you're a new man which nobody ever wanted because there was nothing wrong with the old one. I'm sick of people falling over and suing the ground and people watching nipples and suing the TV and I'm sick of coffee cups with 'don't pour over yourself, you may get burnt' on the side to try and counter this.

I'm sick of stupid Americans who don't know the difference between patriotism and jingoism and who think flag waving should be an Olympic event. I'm sick of Americans who cry that people hate them or are jealous of them or who are anti them because someone dares to point out that the America they've been programmed to believe in from birth bears no relation to the one that exists in real life.

Re:Fuck You America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647801)

Sharing is a bunch of bull, too. And helping others. And what's all this crap I've been hearing about tolerance?

Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Fuck You America! (4, Informative)

Crispin Cowan (20238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648155)

I'm sick of an American school system that produces children who are brought up to believe that America IS the world and anything that goes on outside is irrelevant. Children so stupid they think America invented the Internet, computer, motor car, light bulb, telephone etc ad infinitum....

Here's a clue: "America" (people in America) did invent the Internet [wikipedia.org] , a substantial part of the computer [wikipedia.org] , the light bulb [wikipedia.org] , the telephone [wikipedia.org] ... not quite ad infinitum. America did not invent everything, not even a majority of things, but American inventors certainly did invent a huge fraction of things invented since 1776.

If you are going to throw an irrelevant troll rant, at least get your facts straight :-)

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647653)

ISPs make their money for overselling services. People overusing those resources, getting themselves hacked by Russian trojans, or otherwise reducing that price advantage means ISPs will not make enough profit to outcompete each other.

Expect more filtering. Expect them to turn you in if you cause problems. Expect less technical support. There's just no money in it.

You've Agreed To It (5, Informative)

jcm (4767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647673)

Each person should review the Terms of Service (ToS) they accepted (and most likely continue accept each time they use their Internet connection) and look to see what is stated there. Also, realize that the ISP's will update it with nearly no notice. Inside of those agreements that you agree to generally through your use of their services you'll find all kinds of interesting things. For example, here is some relevant quotes from Verizon's ToS [verizon.net] in Section 14.4:

"You hereby consent to Verizon's monitoring of your Internet connection and network performance, and the access to and adjustment of your computer settings, as they relate to the Service, Software, or other services, which we may offer from time to time."

Who is to say that "adjustment of your computer settings" doesn't include adjustment of .html files being delivered to you. Oh and just in case that wasn't strong enough, in Section 15.8 you get:

"15.8 You agree that Verizon assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, integrity, quality completeness, usefulness or value of any Content, data, documents, graphics, images, information, advice, or opinion contained in any emails, message boards, chat rooms or community services, or in any other public services, and does not endorse any advice or opinion contained therein. Verizon does not monitor or control such services, although we reserve the right to do so. Verizon may take any action we deem appropriate, in our sole discretion, to maintain the high quality of our Service and to protect others and ourselves."

Similar allowances are inComcast's Acceptable Use Policy [comcast.net] . Basically, folks have to understand what they are signing up for and how often it can change.

There are companies out there today, Phorm [phorm.com] for example, who already are working with ISPs around the world in order to put their gear in the ISP networks to create targeting advertising based on all Internet habits, not just specific sites with specific cookies or the like. So far they all seem to be giving you an ability to Opt Out, but that appears to be a way to create good will for the moment. If there was case law backing them up, who knows if they'd continue the practice.

Re:You've Agreed To It (5, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647843)

Except that Google (in this case) hasn't agreed to those Terms of Service and isn't bound by them. It'd be interesting to see the response to a statement like this from Google: "We grant an implicit license to ISPs to make unmodified copies of our pages on their cache servers and distribute them. We do not grant any license, implicit or explicit, to create derivative works by modifying our pages beyond the boundaries of fair use. We remind ISPs that making and distributing copies of a copyrighted work, or making and distributing a derivative work based on a copyrighted work, without a license from the copyright holder constitutes copyright infringement. We also remind them of the consequences if the PRO-IP Act currently under consideration in Congress passes.".

Re:You've Agreed To It (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647859)

Of course they don't get to make a contract with you that says they get to make derivative works from MY content. This isn't disagreeing with your post. Just pointing out that while your ISP can screw you, it is illegal for them to create derivative works that they have not contracted for without the copyright holders permission.

Re:You've Agreed To It (1)

jmodule (609349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647941)

So basically what you're saying is that as an ISP's customer, I'm accessing the internet connection on their terms, which are liable to change on a CEO's whim -- and usually for the worse for me.

I think most readers here realize that...

The outrage comes from the understanding that if a local business started pulling stunts like that they would be blacklisted and (hopefully) go out of business rather quickly. But somehow a large corporation can do this, get away with it, and even profit.

Re:You've Agreed To It (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648385)

Who is to say that "adjustment of your computer settings" doesn't include adjustment of .html files being delivered to you

Who is to say? Well, provincially anyone familiar with the English language. Words do have meanings, and "content I'm downloading" means something different from "my computer's settings".

Should an ISP try to interpret the above language in that way, and assuming a consumer actually stands up for his/her rights, then ultimately a judge or jury will be the one to say that "adjustment of your computer settings" doesn't include adjustment of .html files being delivered to you.

Nice try, though.

It's a shame, you know. The premise is correct to a point -- most people don't pay attention to what they're agreeing to, and in that environment ISP's have and will continue to write agreements that give them more and more freedom to do whatever they want. So why not back it up with facts instead of trying to shoehorn the first thing you can find into meaning something it doesn't?

Re:You've Agreed To It (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648673)

Also, realize that the ISP's will update it with nearly no notice.

I update the TOS with no notice, too. Like me, they do not seem to notice or care that unilateral changes have been made to the TOS.

Who is to say that "adjustment of your computer settings" doesn't include adjustment of .html files being delivered to you.

The meanings of the terms "adjustment," "your computer," "settings," and ".html files being delivered to you," that's what.

Hey, This is America.... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647719)

... of course they will filter, censor and tell us what to do, think and believe. Thats what Freedom is all about!

This is almost certainly a copyright violation (5, Insightful)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647757)

Adding the header is making a derivative work of the original web page. So is substituting one add for another. I can't think of any reasonable fair use argument that would prevent this from being a copyright violation. The web sites visited by the ISP's subscribers likely have a cause of action against the ISP. And the ad substitution victims likely could prove significant damages.

I haven't fully thought through the contractual implications of this yet (as between the ISP and the ISP's subscribers), but there's almost certainly something there, too.

Re:This is almost certainly a copyright violation (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648033)

That would be awesome, sue the ISPs for using your copyrighted page on the one they display with that message. Can the DMCA be of help here, where you have a front-end modification for a third party application?

It wouldn't matter if it is opt-out or opt-in if the original site hasn't allowed the ISP to do this.

Dont trash that yet! (2)

CaptScarlet22 (585291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647771)

I'd wager an underground modern BBS systems would start to popup again, if things get to far out of hand.

Say hello to dial-up all over again!!

Private internet (2, Interesting)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647903)

Individuals could make their own internet. Who says you have to keep your wifi closed. Everyone open it up, link it together. We could bypass the ISPs all together.

Copyright (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647773)

The reason why ISPs can get away with copying resources into their caches is because they are "incidental copies", where permission for copying is implied for the purpose of normal operation. Web developers can apply Cache-Control: no-transform [ietf.org] to indicate that changes of this nature should not take place. It seems to me that any ISP that alters such pages would be creating unauthorised derivative works and permission would not be implied to copy, thus making them guilty of copyright infringement.

The moment after this becomes fairly common. (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647777)

Is the moment websites start going to all HTTPS.

I kind of doubt anyone likes their website to have content in it inserted by an ISP. The big sites like Yahoo, Ebay, Amazon, etc, will just turn on HTTPS for all content. The only reason they haven't done it yet is because there's little reason to do so, and it takes some extra processing time.

Re:The moment after this becomes fairly common. (1)

eth1 (94901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647847)

Couldn't the ISPs get around that by adding a frameset, with their content in one frame and the https URL you requested in the other?

Re:The moment after this becomes fairly common. (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648131)

not if everything, including the URL you typed, was over HTTPS (and the SSL certificate matched up). they couldnt do anything to a request over HTTPS, except corrupt it.

if, however, you type in http://www.google.com/ [google.com] and that site is supposed to redirect you to https://www.google.com/ [google.com] they could change that first HTTP page to have a frameset and put their ads in.

Re:The moment after this becomes fairly common. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648137)

*GROAN*

Since I'm currently working on optimizing this at work--can you explain how this helps? I have an ajax app with about 120,000 lines of javascript associated with it. Since the data gets passed all over the place, the javascript is behind https, and gets reloaded in entirety for every single connection.

If all web traffic is behind https--none of my browser's cacheing mechanisms will work (nor should they--I do not want it to cache my account balance). Even stylesheets really need to be protected. In a world in which *everything* is SSL, the great inter-tubes will be even more loaded down than they already are by mere HTTP...

Yes, it would fix the injection problem--and exasperate the bandwidth problem these devils already refuse to invest anything into for a fix...

It's your choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647785)

You have the option to use an ISP like Copowi [copowi.com] who guarantees network neutrality [arstechnica.com] .

Spread the word. Even if you don't use Copowi, get in the habit of asking potential ISPs if they guarantee (or offer) network neutrality. (If they start to weasel out, say "guaranteed network neutrality, yes or no?".)

This should be a front-burner issue for ISPs. We should be making every Joe Schmoe in the country asking their ISP "do you have that network neutrality thing, or will you be messin' with my internets?". We're lucky that we have a catchy, positive-sounding name for it, and there's no catchy positive name for its opposite. Use that!

Re:It's your choice (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648353)

You have the option to use an ISP like Copowi who guarantees network neutrality.

No I don't. It's either Qwest or Cox here, neither of which have acceptable terms of service.

The market will decide. (1)

ttapper04 (955370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647809)

Some ISP's will filter content. The consumer will either accept it, or use a different ISP.
The market ultimately dictates policy in these matters.

Re:The market will decide. (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648017)

Some ISP's will filter content. The consumer will either accept it, or use a different ISP. The market ultimately dictates policy in these matters.

Do you really believe the free market is at work in the telecom industry? In most places in the US people have zero, one, or two options for broadband network access and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. As a result, we don't have the many competitors required for the free market, we have a cartel, with most major players having been convicted of undermining the free market at one point or another. New players cannot enter because legal restrictions on the use of the last mile, public right of ways, licensed to only one cable and one phone operator. New players are also disadvantaged because while the government ate the costs of the initial telecoms, subsidizing them to the tune of billions, they won't do the same for anyone else, thus making it a very unfair playing field. Finally, peering agreements are great and all, but the free market cannot act though dozens of intermediaries and if filtering is being done by a network operator that has a peering agreement with someone who has a peering agreement with someone who has a peering agreement with someone you're doing business with, your dislike of the practice will never filter back to them through free market feedback and so nothing will get better.

Before you can expect the invisible hand of the market to act, you have to make sure that market meets the minimum criteria to qualify as a capitalist, free market, and the telecom industry is not even close.

Re:The market will decide. (1)

ttapper04 (955370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648351)

I have five mod points, however I cannot use them here. If I could I would mod your comment Insightful.

Thanks.

Not Just a Bad Idea: IT'S THE LAW (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21647823)

Well, it's almost the law, and proably will be soon enough, to require ISPs to spy on your every message, request and download.

The House just passed the "SAFE Act" [cbs4denver.com] to force all ISPs to take responsibility for all content they host or transport, even if they don't moderate it, in direct contradiction of the landmark CDA [wikipedia.org] which let ISPs be like telcos always have. Lots of child molesters trap children in telephone conversations, but the telco has no liability. Because holding them responsible requires tapping every conversation, which is what the SAFE Act (not the one with the same name that sanely deregulated crypto export) now does: forces ISPs to monitor and analyze the content of your every Internet communication.

When the Senate passes it, then the president signs it, every ISP will be forced to spy on your every online move (just like the government does - hi, Dick!). Just the threat of enforcement will be enough to get ISPs to do whatever the government wants.

And the law makes it a worse idea (3, Insightful)

Banzai042 (948220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648079)

Actually if anything it'll have the opposite effect on content monitoring and filtering. The SAFE act doesn't [arstechnica.com] require ISPs to monitor everything on their network and get fined if they don't report somebody. Instead it says *IF* they detect somebody looking at illegal images or something else covered in the act, and they fail to report it, then they can be fined. This means that the more monitoring an ISP does of the traffic, the more likely it is that they'll technically see something that should have been reported, and fail to do so, opening themselves up for legal problems. On the other hand, if they don't monitor and filter traffic then they won't be at risk, since they'll almost never "catch" anybody that needs to be reported under the SAFE act. Granted, the SAFE act is still a horrible idea, but it's not something that will cause ISPs to do more monitoring.

Copyright infringement? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21647943)

Couldn't a website claim copyright infringement because the ISP has basically taken their work and made a derived version of it with new content on it?

How cool is that? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648001)

Will your ISP censor or alter your web experience at will?

What an innovative way to get me to switch to their biggest competitor. It's like anti-marketing, a novel approach to business.
 

I had enough, so I wound up paying more money... (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648161)

For a VPS. It's a crude/expensive workaround, but it works. It sure sucks to pay an extra $15/mo for a server that I can use to do bittorrent without being throttled, and I ssh to it to establish a proxy connection for my web browsing.

Too bad my area doesn't have non-sucky ISP like Speakeasy.

This reminds me of... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648179)

Remember that company that was selling "redacted" versions of movies? I think that they were some very religious Christian group that wanted to give their members a way to watch videos with the guts and gore and swearing edited out. From what I recall, they were rather ethical about it (the copyright side of things), purchasing one new copy of every movie for each redacted one that they sold.

Now I may not agree that censoring movies like this is a good social move, but I am sympathetic to the idea. For persons who do not own the technology or have the known-how to auto-skip over parts of movies they do not want to see (blame the DMCA from banning such tools), such persons should be able to enlist someone else to do this editing (on a personal copy of the movie) as much as they damn well please (Doctrine of First-Sale, where did you go?).

Compare that kind of "filtering" with the actions of these ISPs: With "filtering" ISPs, people are enjoined from receiving original, unadulterated* content from the tubes. It is, without a doubt, more difficult for them to access the uncensored version, and in the case of embedding new content, it could be nigh impossible for the user to sieve the added bits from the original bits.

In the case of the Curse-Curtailing-Christians above (not an actual Hardy Boys title, but it should be), the end user has actively decided that they wish to choose a NEW product -- a derivative work of the original that is more to their liking -- while still respecting the original content producers and paying them the fair market price for the original content. Very importantly, while the consumer may choose the NEW product today, the original content is still available in the marketplace, if they ever wish to see what parts had been removed.

At the end of the day it comes down to the freedom to
1) Not have your communications be censored or filtered
2) Be able to modify (for personal use) any media that you have gainfully acquired

Why is this so difficult an idea? Why have we not yet addressed this issue in America?
As Pepé Le Pew might say, "Le Sigh".

* insert appropriate joke about the Internet being "Adult-e-Rated"...

Isn't there a simple solution to all this? (1)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648293)

Encrypt everything. Someone more knowledgeable in the area can shed more light on this, but will any of this filtering software have any discernable effect if we encrypt all communications?

ISP's with bad DNS cache miss pages (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648295)

My ISP (3web Canada) has taken to throwing up dnserror pages when a site cannot be found.

This seems to happen on misses on the DNS cache rather than failures to resolve to the root DNS server.

I have had the DNS error page appear for worldofwarcraft.com and slashdot.com.

The DNS error page throws up a bunch of ads. So the the failure to resolve to worldofwarcraft.com left me staring at a bunch of goldfarmer ads.

I can see lawsuits starting over this soon. The ISP has a financial incentive in failing to the DNS error page and serving the ad.

Content Substitution... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648441)

Once this takes hold, you can bet news and government intelligence apparatuses will exploit this to the hilt. Propaganda, revisionist history, and deception will gradually be used more than ever to manipulate the public (of any country, internal or external).

Just look at how recently we find the current cadge/cabal in the white house has manipulated fact to bring about world disfavor upon Iran, which the UN and other agencies (even US intel agencies) now claim is not so badly outside of the line when it comes to the nukes and nuclear plants the bush administration so scathingly deride.

Capping data volume is one thing, but selective insertion or redaction of material will prove dangerous and render ever more untrustworthy any use the Internet(s) might have for anything other than frivolous entertainment.

This is complete bullEXCELLENT (5, Funny)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648699)

I've really ENJOYED THE SAFETY I GET with web filtering. This sort of stuff has simply gone too NOT FAR ENOUGH. I'm so ABSOLUTELY CONTENT with Comcast, I'm going to go call them right now and VOLUNTARILY INCREASE THE AMOUNT I AM PAYING THEM, and I suggest that everybody else yell about HOW COMCASTIC THEIR SERVICE IS.

Sincerely,

SATISFIED CUSTOMER

End of the internet. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648797)

I hope it gets worse. Soon people will begin to say "fuck it" and go play outside, or go strengthen their minds with reading or conversation.

Vote only for politician supports net neutrality (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648819)

We should send a strong and clear message that we do not want censorship of the internet by electing only politicians who support net neutrality and other anti-censorship and pro-rights measures. Dennis Kucinich is one candidate who does and who has a strong record of voting down other laws such as the Military Commissions act and the "thought crime" bill which is so loosely defined that peaceful protests could fall under its provisions.

This filtering and modifications of internet traffic is no different than what we see happening in china and else where, except corporations are doing censoring rather than the government directly. Many of these corporations have political alignments, often republican, so they could perhaps even abuse the power to manipulate political web pages. Its Really the same thing as what happens in china, the people who do it are different in name only, but they are both powerful elite establishment. The internet can be such a powerful tool of citisen empowerment that for the first time has given everyone free speech and the ability to publish and access information published by anyone else. It has decentralised information flow in a way that no single large entity can control it and thus use media channels for propogandisation purposes. The powers that be dont like this because they sense they are losing their power to meld the public mind at their wish and keep people ignorant and stupid, thus easily controlled. These corporations can easily become defacto government and through this power control what people can say, among so many other things.

If we value free speech, and the values of free expression and free thought, that has made this country great, we should soundly reject this pro censorship position. It is still censorship even if corporations which are sort of quasi governmental do it. ISPs should be considered common carriers, that is what they are, and they should be obliged just like a telephone company to carry data unmodified. They form a communications infrastructure in society, like the telephone network need to respect free speech rights.
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