If you’re torrenting content, at least one ISP has a message for you. Your internet-connected gadgets (thermostats and home security systems) may not work so well when they knock you down to their lowest service level. Armstrong is an ISP in the Pennsylvania area that has reminded customers they could be left out in the cold should they get sniped torrenting content. The company sent out a letter to users to explain the consequences for users who are suspected of torrenting.
“In accordance with the Terms and Conditions, Armstrong’s copyright infringement policy, and federal law, please be advised that, if Armstrong receives additional notifications of infringement connected with your Zoom Internet Service, Armstrong will remove you from your current internet service level and place you at the lowest service level,” the letter explains. “Please be advised that this may affect other services which you may have connected to your internet service, such as the ability to control your thermostat remotely or video monitoring services.”
While this ISP isn’t wrong in its assessment, your IoT devices will indeed struggle on any ISP dial-up service. The timing of this warning letter seems a little heavy-handed, given that it is winter in Pennsylvania. While we agree that torrenting copyrighted content is illegal, ISP’s need to prove its happening before they cut someone’s services. Chris Mills at BGR makes a good point for this.
But an IP address is not an identity, and relying on it for proof of infringement is patently unfair. Technical errors, as well as things like neighbors using your Wi-Fi, can lead to false positives. Basically, Armstrong is relying entirely on the for-profit enforcement arm of media companies — which has zero incentive to be careful — to make decisions about its own customers, fully knowing that it could mess up people’s heating systems in the middle of winter.
Hopefully, Armstrong is going through the proper steps to ensure those they believe are guilty, are actually guilty.
Last Updated on January 1, 2018.