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ISPs Known for Defending Their Customer's Rights? 85

lieumorrison asks: "With the recent examples of some US based Internet service providers going overboard in their desire to stay on the good side of the law, I ask Slashdot readers: What ISPs have a reputation of protecting their costumers by not arbitrarily giving in to C&D orders and such, without first contacting their lawyers? (ISPs hosting in the US or abroad; based on reactions in the past)"
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ISPs Known for Defending Their Customer's Rights?

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  • (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You know what you get, and they have some of the brightest people I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with at an ISP.
    • (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark.seventhcycle@net> on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:30PM (#13344036) Homepage
      Not to mention they let you run servers off your connection, won't block outgoing ports like 25 or incoming ports like 80.

      If google were to be an ISP, they should buy Speakeasy, since it would go well with their "Do no evil" mantra.

      • I know what you mean. It seems like a lot of ISP tries to find out what service hugs the biggest amount of bandwidth, then finds out if it can be used to illegal activities in any ways (such as file sharing etc), then blocks it.

        I'm not saying that people won't be using their server for illegal activities, it's just that there's (still) a bunch of legal things to do with open ports.

        Luckily for me, over here in Norway, we're pretty much let to ourselves. It's more like a need to know basis here. If you ca
        • I've had great luck with as a host. I have a gripe site there:
          and when the lawyers came knocking the ISP said take it up with the domain admin, we ain't touching it because it doesn't violate our terms of service (no porn, spam, hate, all reasonable and basic).
      • (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, but how would Speakeasy's policies fit with Google's work censoring their chinese users at the behest of the commies ?
        • Google are like any other capitalistic company: they want to make money. Selling out their "good-company" image silently in China is a way to make money and entering a new market.

          Let's face it, how much do we know about what's going on in China?

          Btw, isn't Google buying up a lot of black-fibre across the United states? Maybe they will launch their own ISP, across their own network?
      • Many ISPs block port 25 for outgoing traffic, and I think this is a good thing, BUT - you should as a single user be able to sign a paper where you take full responsibility of what happens with your computer and then port 25 (and others) should be opened.

        The thing is that the above isn't very common! :(
    • Awesome ISP with incredible service (you can talk to human people!) and just all-around good packages that don't screw you on bandwidth or static IPs!

      1. They will honor a C&D served against you, but they will honor it anonymously (ie. stop serving copyrighted X or we temporarily suspend your line) and won't give your details for anything short of a warrant.

      2. And this is more of a personal itch, but they don't have ipv6 yet, which is kind of a bummer.

      amazing freaking isp. and great notification
  • Videotron in Canada (Score:3, Informative)

    by darthgnu ( 866920 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:43PM (#13344108) Homepage Journal
    Videotron in Canada is one of the biggest cable companies around where I live. They have shared interests with Quebecor/big media, they are known for disclosing customer data to third parties, if you care about your privacy, do not pick this ISP.
  • Costumers? (Score:5, Funny)

    by toddbu ( 748790 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @08:45PM (#13344118)
    What ISPs have a reputation of protecting their costumers by not arbitrarily giving in to C&D orders and such...?

    Wouldn't an ISP protect its customers. Or maybe they really like their costumes.

  • Technically not an ISP as such, but they definitely provide internet connectivity.
    During the Diebold/DMCA issue, they caved and forced their students to remove materials, before consulting anybody, and then, even when advised that Diebold wasn't going to do anything, they still prohibited the sharing of information. See p%3A// d/Decl_of_Laroia_w_Exhs.pdf&ei=xtoDQ7vVOa2CYaufjNg I [] for one affadavit.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      University of Pennsylvania (we're the people wearing the "Not Penn State" shirts) got hit up by the RIAA YEARS and years ago in the very FIRST wave of requests because we sat on a slew of fiber lines and main internet hubs (mostly for the research institutions) and most dorm rooms, labs and classroom had true 100MB connection. Ungodly transfer rates between dorm rooms on opposite ends of campus. Add to that the Microsoft Network Filesharing.....unless you had a FAST machine it wasn't worth browsing the netw
  • If ISPs sensor information then they become liable for all information that they transfer. If ISPs police information they go beyond their designated duty; Toyota has no obligation to file greivances against Toyota drivers that speed and DUI. I hope I'm interpretting the blurb right, karma.
    • This is not really the same argument. You are basically saying rifle companies don't have to be responsible for your firearm actions. ISPs aren't double sending your TCP packets to some alternate destination without you knowing.

      Though this whole ISP privacy article is silly cause no one abuse your info more than credit card companies.

      • "You are basically saying rifle companies don't have to be responsible for your firearm actions."

        That's exactly what I'm saying.

        • It honestly amazes me that people can hold the manufacturers of guns liable for the actions of what people do.

          Thats exactly like saying my wife is going to sue Dell because I used one of their computers to write some nasty virus... (just an example folks)

          Anyway, we're off topic as it is...
    • I've seen this comment on Slashdot before but I seriously doubt that an ISP would become liable for everything just because they chose to block some things. Has anyone seen an actual example of an ISP or similar organization being held liable in a situation like this?
      • The reason that an ISP becomes liable for everything once it sensors something is because once it blocks content A,B,C it automatically says that content D-Z is 'acceptable'. And if the government finds that content F is somehow illegal, the ISP becomes liable for not filtering that as well.

        From the point of view of ISP, there is no incentive for them to take on the burden of policing the internet.

        (Aside from that, I want to note that I do not believe in any censorship, period, regardless of the source

        • Which is why there are quite a few that block "un-needed" ports such as those commonly used by Kazaa et al. Because blocking a port for all users because it can be mis-used is OK, filtering a port for Filesharing traffic is censorship and they can then be required to filter port 80 for "inappropriate" content.
      • by arete ( 170676 ) <areteslashdot2 AT xig DOT net> on Thursday August 18, 2005 @09:54AM (#13347023) Homepage
        I am not a lawyer, but here's the very rough deal:
        Someone who is transmitting information as a "common carrier" isn't responsible for that content under very broad rules.

        Someone who ISN'T a common carrier still isn't automatically responsible. There's lots of ways to NOT be liable, but this is one especially broad and reliable kind of protection and companies don't want to give it up.

        1. A _hosting_ company can make whatever AUP they want, and they can enforce it; they aren't acting as a common carrier anyway. A hosting company can always be liable for what they're hosting (to some extent, after they know)

        2. An _access_ company is protected by common carrier rules. So if your DSL provider prevents you from seeing certain sites then they become somewhat liable for all the content passed over their lines.

        It doesn't count if the filtering is optional (most family-friendly) or if it is technical (most kinds of AV protection; anything supposedly to keep bandwidth down.)

        So there's a narrow techincal distinction in there somewhere, but the rough idea is that people who are _bandwidth_ providers don't want to stop you from accessing something based on content, because it reduces their protection.

        • If an ISP blocks a port, such as the ports used by IRC, obstensibly for technical reasons but it's obvious to everyone they are doing it because BIGNUM% of such traffic is unwanted, e.g. piracy or p0rn, then are they still a common carrier?

          What if they do it to prevent network harm and it's generally regarded as Doing The Right Thing, like blocking incoming NETBIOS ports or restricting outgoing port 25?
          • To my understanding, blocking any ports isn't considered blocking based on _content_ which is what puts you at risk of losing common carrier protection.

            I believe it would probably even be ok to block any website IP that had more than "X" traffic - as long as you did it consistently.
      • The easiest way to expliain it is to equate it with directing traffic.

        If you cause someone to have an accident when directing trafic, you are at fault or at minimum share in the responibility for that accident. Even if the accident could have been avioded but wasn't because you gave some one the right of way when someone else had it.

        ISPs assume this directing traffic role when they start forcibly filtering content. They are distinguishing who has the right of way and who doesn't. When they do this they can
  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:08PM (#13344233)
    I assume this is the reason the response rate on this is so low. It's an intriguing question, though.

    • by hords ( 619030 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @09:46PM (#13344431)
      I'm a sysadmin at an ISP in Oregon, UNICOM []. We get requests all the time for customer information. Our policy is to only give out information if we receive a subpoena. If someone doesn't give this to us we tell them that we require it (I've personally told a police officer this who was trying to get info.) We get many emails and letters from RIAA and MPAA, but to my knowledge never anything that we provided customer information for. They send things to try to scare ISPs into providing info, but that tends to be it in my experience.
      • This is both good and bad.
        We had a former employee that we believe was reading other peoples email. I had a log of an IP address from his ISP checking our CEOs mailbox. He was not employed with us at that time. I asked the ISP if it was him and sent the logs but they would not tell us or do anything about it with out subpoena.
        Here is the problem. This is a criminal act. We did not want him to go to jail we just wanted him to stop and to let him know we caught him. He has a wife and a kid and putting him in
        • A few questions:
          • If he was no longer employed with you, why did he know your CEO's e-mail password? This breaks down into two parts: Why did he know the password in the first place, and why wasn't it changed when he left?
          • You mentioned that you "instead just changed all your passwords". Is this not standard procedure after a security breach at your company? Would you have omitted changing everyone's password if you chose to go after this individual and have him put in jail?
          • Could you please let us know wha
          • My boss was stupid enough to trust this guy with his email password.
            He had this guy set up his home system to pull his email.
            Yes changing all the passwords was SOP when we have a security breach.
            And do not worry. Our CEO doesn't have any Important passwords to things like the accounting system.
            He is not that dumb.

  • Try HavenCo [], based in the principality of Sealand. []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Verizon has repeatedly blocked giving up subscriber information to the RIAA/MPAA, and they even beat them in court on the matter. However, it's not because Verizon loves you and wants to protect your rights. It's because doing the work of the RIAA/MPAA costs them money, and that's what's important to them.
  • verizon (Score:3, Informative)

    by ikeleib ( 125180 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @10:44PM (#13344725) Homepage
    It would be Verizon that went to bat with RIAA all the way to Federal Appeals Court. They tried to go all the way, but were denied hearing. ion-20031219.pdf []
  • xs4all (Score:4, Informative)

    by splortnik2003 ( 698008 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2005 @11:21PM (#13344922)
    i think [] is pretty much exactly what you're looking for.

    unfortunately in holland, so not sure how useful this is to you.

    but they're basically an out of control, customer privacy respecting and defending, scientology-document-hosting, barrel of isp goodness. (more. []) i wish i lived in holland so i could give them my connectivity money.

  • Privacy Policies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slughead ( 592713 ) on Thursday August 18, 2005 @12:04AM (#13345086) Homepage Journal
    A lot of ISPs' privacy policies state that they wont give out your personal information with anything short of a warrant.

    With the FBI basically writing their own warrants [] now, it's put them in an awkward legal position.

    The best part is: even before the patriot II (which passed, see above link), ISPs could be charged with obstruction of justice for not giving the FBI what they ask for in unofficial terms.

    Speaking as someone who was tracked down in such a way over a MISDEMENOR (dismissed, thank God), I can say that this affects us all. I'm very proud to say that a grand jury was assembled and a warrant had to be issued before Cox gave the information up. This was after Patriot I, however, it was BEFORE Patriot II.

    Nowadays.. well ...
  • XS4All, Netherlands (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mpieters ( 149981 ) on Thursday August 18, 2005 @04:59AM (#13345992) Homepage

    The Dutch ISP XS4All [] has a very long history of both active and pro-active defense of their customer rights. It is currently leading an international petition against the EU plans for data retention [], for example. It also started case against the Dutch government over wiretapping [].

    In the past it has on a regular bases stood up to defend their customer rights, including a long running spat against the Church of Scientology [] and a case of freedom of expression even if it is about derailing German trains [].

    Last but not least XS4All actively sues spammers (sorry, Dutch only) [].

  • Shaw Cable (Score:3, Funny)

    by space_biker ( 229319 ) on Thursday August 18, 2005 @10:41AM (#13347469) Homepage
    Shaw Cable, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is well known for supporting customer privacy: -A3CB-1C29D914023B/0/ProtectionofInternetPrivacy.p df&ei=z5wEQ663Fb6sYeGhgOQI [](pdf)
  • ISP's that I've worked for in the past have all had the same policy - no customer records are delivered to any law enforcement or governmental agency without an appropriate subpoena. In the presence of a subpoena, however, they've all turned over the appropriate records. Granted, an ISP can fight these subpoenas, but that would be an enormous legal burden - and why should an ISP subsidize a customers legal problems?
    • 1) It is NOT a custumoer's legal "problem" until a court case/lawsuit has been filed and the customer notified. Until that time you need to repharse that statement as "why should an ISP subsidize protecting a customer's legal rights.

      2) And that statement answers itself, because they are their CUSTOMERS, and as such should take reasonable steps to protect their customer's property. If you drop your clothing off at a Dry cleaner that dry cleaner is resonsible if someone comes and takes that clothing, eve

      • I agree that an ISP (or any corporation for that matter) should take reasonable steps to protect a customers privacy, and I concur that negligence in that arena would probably be grounds to sue.

        I do not agree, however, that a corporate entity has the responsibility to refuse to comply with a subpoena in order to protect its customers' right to privacy - accept in remarkable circumstances. Case in point, Verizon refusing to turn over records to the RIAA; those subpoenas were issued directly by the RIAA, as y
  • by taylortbb ( 759869 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {senryb.rolyat}> on Thursday August 18, 2005 @11:20AM (#13347839) Homepage
    All the major Canadian ISPs (except Videotron) fought the CRIA when they attempted to sue filsharers, and they won. Even Rogers who has other media investments (TV studios, etc.) fought the CRIA.

    My current ISP (Rogers) I've had good service with (very fast), except for the 60GB/month bandwidth cap they just put in place.
  • They won't listen to complaints of any kind.
  • Canada's privacy laws prevent my ISP from giving out any personally identifiable information. If they did, I have every right to sue, and then the ISP would be subject to penalties, even loss of license to provide ISP services. On top of that, the RCMP might lay charges.

    In other words, ISP's are more scared of the government slamming them than RIAA.

      Seriously, though. The RIAA has no business monitoring who downloads what to the who now, but they get away with it because of all the political lobbying that transpires here in the United States.

      Time to move to Canada.
  • Speakeasy. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Thursday August 18, 2005 @12:46PM (#13348546)
    They likely won't fight a warrant, and I would be doubtful they'd fight a plausible cease and desist; but I know they won't crack down themselves on hosts running servers, pegging bandwidth for p2p stuff, or otherwise using the service provided. And they're not going to resell my contact info.

    Unfortunately, that's leaps and bounds above any other American ISP I've encountered.
    • i was with speakeasy for 4+ years. in response to C&D orders, they give warnings, and will ultimately terminate your service. i got around 4 C&D orders. my service was never terminated, but they did threaten to do so.

      to be fair, they were pretty nice about it ... probably not any more or less than any other US based ISP. speakeasy is an excellent ISP overall.

  • There are a few things you can do if you want to protect your privacy as much as you can.

    You could get a offshore dedicated server [] and put a proxy on it (and possibly any data you want to have offshore for tax, privacy, or even backup/redundancy reasons). This way, your web browsing and others would only trace back to the proxy.

    If you're only looking to put data offshore and privacy, just go for a offshore web hosting [] account.

    You could also simply do a search on Google for offshore servers [] and you'd c

  • oplink [] has been very helpful with forwarding complaint letters to me instead of cutting me off, and you can run whatever servers you like too.
  • I was hosting some "consumer advocacy" content that earned the animosity of some of the companies that were on my "hall of shame".

    I had a lot of problems hosting my content. The lawyers from the companies sent threatening letters to the ISPs and they would drop my site. It didn't matter that the CDA held them non liable, etc -- they just didn't want to deal with anything have to do with lawyers.

    Eventually I found Brand X Internet []. They were recently in the news on Slashdot (they were the small ISP that

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein