July 1, 2012: The Day ISPs Start Spying On Customers

Correction: This story originally cited July 12, 2012 as the date ISPs start spying on customers as this was the date widely reported at the time of publishing. There are still conflicting reports but it appears the correct date is July 1, 2012. Regardless of which date is correct, if you use BitTorrent, my suggestion is to play it safe and assume they are starting July 1.

If you are in the habit of downloading copyrighted media, including software, music and videos, be warned that beginning on Sunday July 1st your ISP will start spying on your activity. The Raw Story reports, “That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’ bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they will not download copyrighted materials.”

Of course the usual suspects are behind this plan including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA). The plan is backed by all major ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, AT&T) and has the support of the Obama administration.

Penalties for offenders can include reduced bandwidth, access reduced to a limited number of websites, and complete internet service cut-off. ISPs can require customers to attend “an education course” if they want service restored. And of course offenders can be charged with copyright infringement by the studios.

CNET News article quotes RIAA CEO Cary Sherman, “Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system.” Sherman said ISPs are developing systems to keep track of repeat infringers which will allow them to send “first notice or the third notice.” CNET reports that ISPs will use a “graduated response” approach. This approach requires ISPs to “send out one or two educational notices to customers accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. If the customer doesn’t stop, the ISP is then asked to send out ‘confirmation notices’ asking that they confirm they have received notice.” If accused customers continue to pirate material the ISP can then begin to impose the before mentioned restrictions.

Welcome to the police state folks, previously home to the ‘land of the free’.


photo by tk-link

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  • Steve Schuler

    That’s why I encrypt all of my bittorrent transfers.  Just looks like random packets of data.  My understanding is Comcast has already been looking for torrent users and throttling them (or worse) for years.  Considering how much 100% legal/legit stuff you can download via bittorrent, I’m not eager to get slowed/shut down becasue some computer guessed wrong about my intentions.

    • keep on rockin’ in the free world

      • JoeBlow

         What “free world”?  Our government has taken our right ans shitted on them.

  • I’m pretty sure we all said, “no”…

  • Dustintompson

    I’m going to cancel my over priced DSL service.  I’ve already stopped going to the movies and stopped watching TV because there are advertisements shoved in our faces and covering the screen at inappropriate times.  Nothing is any fun any longer in this country.  We’ve been taken over by BIG BROTHER a long time ago and no one has done anything about it.  Too bad all of you children didn’t grow up when this country was really free.

    • LTOA-Vartyan

      When was this country really free that is the true question. Also comedian, and legend to some,George Carlin had the best skit on advertisements multiple times mocking them humorously each time.

  • LTOA-Vartyan

    I love the usage of the one left eye to be peering into the affairs of man, slightly resembling the eye on the dollar bill peering into the affairs of God. Comcast throttles their customers bandwith when you near billing cycle at times. I myself have gotten a couple letter of warning, years back, about some crap lol I just ignorantly pitched it in the garbage and thought…”what does it matter” now near billing cycles and ever since then my bandwith is shot like I am on dsl/dial-up and the only person I share it with is my brother for his ps3 haha. I pay the bill and mysteriously the next 2-3 days it was fine again.

    What I find to be odd though, why isn’t this being made into such a huge deal and widely protested against such as SOPA. I honestly believe SOPA was the governments false flag plan to see how the people would re-act to the idea with the intentions of the infamously sneaking behind our backs at night to pass a bill tactic.

  • I would go ahead and say that if they take away someones ability to watch a movie or listen to free music, they are most likely not going to pay for something that they have gotten for free for years. Big named producers are not going to get more sales this way, just less people enjoying what they are producing. Im glad to see that the US is getting to be less and less the home of the free. Thanks US for making its people progressively more and more pissed.

    • I agree. This is not a method for increasing sales. it’s a method for making people that much more determined to pirate.

  • Reader11722

    This is all about crushing Free Speech. After all the gov’t (and their corporate cronies) censor the media and ban books like “America Deceived II”.
    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely censored:

  • Friday

    Remember getting your first tape recorder as a child? Remember taping songs off of the radio? Remember taping your vinyl albums to play in your car?

    We have all been “criminals” since we were 10 years old by this skewed logic.

    Good thing we are in the largest open-air prison on the planet.

    Problem already solved! ; )

    • Americas Cannabis Culture

      Absolutely! Not that most of us weren’t born to “criminals” in the first place. There’s another comment saying how “It’s too bad that we children couldn’t grow up when this country was really free.” Big history buff here… and no one alive today grew up in a free country, not in the USA anyway….(can’t speak for other countries… can’t afford to visit them). We can guess our future struggles by looking at our past victories… this is a long hard road ahead of us, and I mean ALL of us, not just the white, or black, or atheists, for every single one of us… If the ship goes down everybody gets wet. My friends, many of them just don’t seem to care, don’t want to bother, but when all this comes to a head, they will wish they had been a little better prepared for hard times, because we haven’t seen Nothing yet. Uncle Sam has barely even begun to fight. We can expect this to be minor compared to future action. Friday the President signed another executive order…. go to the PR page of whitehouse.gov and read it for yourself, I won’t try sway you with my opinion.


    Will this be Worldwide?

  • anyourcommentsareupsidedown

    Wrong date!

    • Story corrected. July 12th was the original date widely reported at the time of publishing. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • What gets me about some of this is that a patent on medicine after however many years is over and you get a generic drug. Why is it that some old music or movie the copyright lasts forever. At some point that should expire as well. Otherwise relatives of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Shakespeare will crawl out of the woodwork and start demanding royalties.

    • Totally agree. That used to be the case. Artistic works should eventually become available to the public domain. Greed gets in the way of that. And it’s usually not because of the artists, it’s because of the company’s through which the art is distributed. They don’t want to give anything up, ever.

  • Barry

    I can’t believe they’d do this BS

  • ssoniczs56

    I Want Them To Stop All This. They Are Getting In My Computer And Looking All Through My Stuff. I Want It To Stop! Its MY Stuff Since If They Want To Look Through My Stuff. THEY NEED TO ASK ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The Awesomeness

    There is no way they can LEGALLY do this, right?!? They’re violating our constitutional rights!! I can’t believe this is even happening… I love this country, but not it’s government.

  • Hazencruz

    This must be stopped. These kinds of things are the things that spark riots and full-on rebellions years down the road. Look at the prohibition era and what it brought to America. The Recording Industry and MPAA are childish fools if they think this will make people pay for any of their stupid shit. They will destroy the entertainment industry and our freedom!

  • N Studios

    This is complete bullcrap that’s going on here. It’s 100% UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as it violates the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which clearly states that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
    This protects US Citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, which is EXACTLY what this is causing. The unreasonable searches carried out by the ISPs would be their spying on our activities on and offline, and the unreasonable seizures would be their cutting off our Internet access, as it is a DIRECT result of said unreasonable searches. Whoever proposed this really needs to read the Constitution and all of its Amendments again, because they obviously didn’t know a damn thing about what the hell they we’re talking about here!

    • BeeKaaay

      And remember, Obama did this. Remember this in November.

      The plan is backed by all major ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner
      Cable, Cablevision, AT&T) and has the support of the Obama

  • BeeKaaay

    And remember, Obama did this and 100% approves of this.

    Remember this in November.

    The plan is backed by all major ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner
    Cable, Cablevision, AT&T) and has the support of the Obama

    • You are correct and I will remember it. But I’ll also remember a lot more reasons to vote for Obama over Romney.

  • Unanimity of the Unity

    The government doesn’t have to follow the constitution because WE’VE let them break it time and time again with NO question. Why?? People need to start making changes. Start seeing what is going on in this world and who is causing it. Start standing up for our rights and more importantly, our CHILDREN’S and THEIR children’s rights. But it sucks that we’re not going to because everyone is lazy and content with this shitty country because believe me this ISP shit is NOTHING compared to what else goes on. People act like your rights are protected or something well they’re not. Everyone commenting on this website and speaking out against the government could now LEGALLY be detained, refused your right to a trial, tortured, killed, shipped off to another country, etc. they can now also legally search every one of your houses without you knowing it. We have good ol’ George W to thank for that as that was one of the main purposes of 9/11. Educate yourselves people. The best thing we can all do is STOP WATCHING THE MEDIA. our media is owned by the same corporations that are taking over this country and soon this world. They misinform every single one of us. There is an excellent documentary called “Ethos” available on YouTube and on Netflix. I recommend everyone in America watch it. Knowledge is power in this age. The more we know the better we can defend ourselves and prepare for what is coming.