[buug] Free DSL?

Zeke Krahlin ezekielk at iname.com
Wed Feb 16 01:39:04 PST 2000

On Tue, 15 Feb 2000 Christopher Sullivan feedle at feedle.net wrote:

>On Tue, 15 Feb 2000 ezekielk at iname.com wrote:

>> Their TOS says they can charge a subscriber $500 for opting out before
>> 5 years of use...

>Ouch.  So, what this means is, when we offer $50/month local dialtone, you
>must subscribe to it if you want to keep your "free" DSL service. 

Not quite *that bad, as I believe there is a conditional clause stating "if 
the switch to their service is no more expensive than what you are 
currently paying". But the *quality may be lacking and/or there may be 
unpleasant changes for the customer. But I don't use LD or cable...and I'll 
even shut down my local phone service, once I have a DSL or cable connect 
to the 'net.

>> In their TOS, they say: "BDG, at its sole discretion, may control the
>> content you may view through its network based on its business
>> relationship with various content providers and other partnership
>> agreements." 

>... but they may restrict your access if, say, Yahoo! makes a deal
>blocking access to AskJeeves.  They may also censor access if one of their
>"business relationships" decides they don't want you seeing hotchix.com or
>downloading MP3s through Napster.

I'm also thinking about any Christian advertisers who may coerce the 
service to censor *any gay or lesbian site (as part of their broadly 
prejudiced definition of "pornography"). In effect, the service would 
silently, but effectively, shut down any and all gay and pro-gay sites and 
links. We (gays) would become, for all practical purposes, completely 
invisible. Of course, if that happened, you can bet I'd be the first in 
line with a lawsuit, drooling for the big bucks.

>Are you willing to sacrifice, completely, your privacy on the net, in
>exchange for $50/month?  This seems an awfully low price to put on your
>online privacy.

Well, *some services that charge an upfront fee may ensure the privacy of 
all your personal data. But the pressure of commercial entities is 
overwhelmingly in favor of access to any and all personal data. So I don't 
really think my paying $50/month will protect me very much. This invasion 
of our privacy is so ubiquitous, as to be a massive social dilemma, which 
only changes in privacy laws will correct.

>I haven't even touched on paralegal elements of the way free ISPs work.
>If a cracker wanted to steal your identity, how hard would it be if they
>broke the proxying technology the ISP uses?  

The identity profile I'd create would be from one of my false profiles, of 
which I have many. So what data they mine from me would not in any way 
impose upon my privacy. But they could still track my online 
habits...unless I use anonymous proxies pumped with Proxomitron and Black 
Ice. Though it *is possible a free-DSL company would prohibit anonymous 
surfing, as part of the contract. (I'd *still find a way around this, 

>I don't trust free Internet providers.  

I don't either. And that is why my personal data they have on file, is 
false. And that is *also why they promote things I couldn't be less 
interested in, like Furbee collectibles, American flag lollipops, gold 
ingots, and moose antlers.  ;(

>I find it fascinating that some of the free DSL providers...
>have DMA members as investors (like worldspy.com... why do 
>you think they call it worldspy, anyway?).

Ha, ha. Not very subtle, are they? Maybe they think they're being cute. 

>You don't think they're doing this to be nice, do you?

If they actully knew my low income, and materially-minimal lifestyle, 
*censor me from their service!

>DSL does not affect normal use of the phone.  A conventional modem is
>within the definition of "normal use."

Okay. I thought about it today, and figured no problem...if you can use a 
voice phone, you can use a dial-up modem. But perhaps (I also thought) a 
free-DSL company might put a *block against such modem use.
>To me, any loss of my privacy is a harsh TOS term, especially when it's
>for a service that costs so little compared to the quantity of enrichment
>I get from it.  $50 for Internet access, compared to my $400 monthly
>grocery bill, is a bargain.

$50/month is over-budget for me. The maximum I'd consider is $25. Plus: I 
also gain much pleasure helping other low income people access the 'net for 
free, and using free LD sites, and other free online services. These are 
often disabled people, who live with serious budget cutbacks, and who could 
never afford to pay for Internet access. Having such access frees them for 
a better social life, job training, and opportunities.

But I *do instruct them on how to create dummy data, keeping it in a text 
file for future reference in order to keep the story "straight".

>My privacy is not for sale for such a low bid.

Certainly not. But I don't believe we should have to pay *anything to hold 
onto our right to privacy. So my tactic is to not give these free services, 
real data.

While it is VERY tempting to get that free DSL service NOW...just because 
the SPEED is so alluring (and that's what they're counting on)...and I have 
suffered SO long dragging this slooow modem across cyberspace as if it were 
my own Via Dolorosa...I am waiting to see how many more such companies crop 
up...and hopefully, will find one without such strict conditions. 
Competition should lower the bar on this (I hope, I hope, I hope). Or also: 
fee-based services may charge considerably less than they do now, such as: 
$25/mo. for non-busy time slots only (1am - 7am, or something like that).

FreeISP Cubs BBS & Chat
Toll-free voice/fax mailbox (USA only):
1-888-830-5746 (ext. 8275)
ICQ#: 8485235

More information about the buug mailing list