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January 22, 2013
Is "Six Strikes" A Trojan to Kill Free Wi-Fi?
A meme circulating in the free-culture lists I read is suggesting that the latest round of punitive measures taken by Verizon and other ISPs (sometimes called 'six strikes' - more info here on Boingboing and reference to Torrentfreak) is actually aimed at choking off free wifi.
The big ISPs have never been fond of free net access providers of any sort, moving strongly to block things like municipal-provided town-level wifi. However, along the way many businessess from my local sandwich shop up through big international chains such as McDonalds have begun providing free net access.
Given A and B above, it's striking to note that Verizon has confirmed its plan to apply "six strikes" to businesses, not just individuals. So if six random customers sitting in a Starbucks are accused of downloading a copyrighted item, suddenly the Starbucks wifi may stop working, or may stop working so well? That would be ... um, terribly unfortunate so very sorry but we have this POLICY you see. And, again according to the theory, if businesses can no longer provide free wifi, presumably people will pay (more) to the big ISPs to get things like personal roving data plans, individual dongles, and so on.
Verizon, of course, will insist this is not their true objective. See the petition on Watchdog.net for a bit more info. And bear in mind, this is (at the moment) just a rumor.
(It's been a long time since I got to use the "Rumor and Gossip" category tag on this blog, so a quick reminder: if what you're forwarding me is a rumor that's OK, but please identify it as such.)
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