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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

US ISP Will Hijack Subscribers’ Browsers

Since nobody in the United States thought it was a good idea to reign in the entertainment industry, it is currently acceptable for an Internet service provider to hijack a suspect infringer’s browser.

One of the largest American providers, Comcast, has explained how it is going to deal with its subscribers under the new “six-strikes” legislation. After 4 notifications the broadband provider will hijack Internet browsers of suspected serial pirates with annoying pop-ups. As you can understand, this will effectively make it impossible to browse the web, and the pop-up will only go away after the subscriber resolves the problem with a Customer Security Assurance representative.

Like other Internet service providers, Comcast starts out with alerts to inform its users that their account has been used to infringe copyright, sending out emails containing details of the suspected infringement. However, after 4 warnings, the repeated infringers will enter the so-called “mitigation phase”, which means that their service will be interrupted by the ISP.

It is still clear how the subscribers will manage to resolve the problem and what they will have to do. In the meantime, Comcast points out that the infringers won’t lose their account under the copyright alert program – in fact, they just won’t be able to use it. In addition, the ISP assures its subscribers that the browser hijack system has been tested for years, and it is supposed to work smoothly. It seems that the company believes its technology is unsinkable.

It turned out that this technology has been used to alert the users when their computer is infected by a malicious bot. However, it hasn’t been tested against a subscriber who fought against it. The ISP can be asked to hand over IP addresses of serial pirates if they fail to stop infringing. In fact, this move of Comcast will mean an end to the Open Wireless Movement, which has been allowing subscribers to share their access to the Internet with neighbors or complete strangers.

Industry experts admit that this measure is unlikely to be effective. What is more likely to happen is that people will switch to VPN providers and BitTorrent proxies – real infringers know how to avoid detection. Still, the move proves that the owners of automatic weapons have more freedoms in the United States than Internet users.

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