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ISP Changes TOS to 'Allow' Ad Injection
Company Responsible Can't Comment...Because They're in Mexico?
by Karl Bode 12:55PM Monday Apr 08 2013
Last week we noted that a rural cable operator by the name of CMA Communications has been injecting their own ads into user streams and on top of websites -- even those that traditionally have no ads. The move is only the latest by a series of ISPs whose lust for revenues appear to exceed their collective gray matter. Ars Technica has a follow up piece on CMA's practices that notes the company has changed their TOS to cover their posterior, including the now standard practice of using legalese to ban class action lawsuits and force binding arbitration.

As is usually the case with these stories (like we saw with MediaCom and a NY hotel ISP last year) the companies involved very quickly clam up about what they're doing as they slowly become aware of the legal ramifications of intercepting traffic, modifying website code, and in some instances swapping out existing ads for their own.

Ars asks R66T, the company providing the injection technology to CMA to comment, but the company's boss said he couldn't talk....because he was in Mexico (yet he could communicate long enough to state he couldn't communicate):
quote:
In response to some direct questions about whether R66T was working with CMA to inject ads over common websites, R66T boss Mick Hall replied by e-mail that he was currently in Mexico City, had a heavy meeting schedule, and had to deal with a "current poor Internet and telecommunications infrastructure" that made getting me more information impossible at the moment. However, he promised to speak more next week.
CMA themselves so far aren't talking in the apparent hopes that if they don't say anything, this whole mess will simply go away.

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topics flat nest 

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Pressure will come from major web sites, not customers

The thing that will get CMA to back down will be pressure and legal threats from major web sites claiming interference in their contractual relations with advertisers. Injected ads that overlay other's advertising will cause major legal actions.
coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State

Re: Pressure will come from major web sites, not customers

I would love to see Apples response to this. Their perfectly clean white page, slammed with ugly ads... they're not going to be happy.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

1 recommendation

Re: Pressure will come from major web sites, not customers

Why isn't a corporation with Apple's resources using https by default? Google provides the option to do so.

Not saying this ad-injection thing is acceptable practice, but https is a far cheaper solution than lawsuits, and as an aside it provides protection against the prying eyes of ISPs that choose to employ DPI.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

1 recommendation

Re: Pressure will come from major web sites, not customers

Speed. https often times feels more sluggish. Apple wants their customers to have a good experience. You can use https on Apple.com if you want. It is offered in https.

humanfilth

join:2013-02-14
cyber gutter
apple does have HTTPS

»www.apple.com/

The chrome/firefox browser extension from EFF.org makes HTTPS default on sites that support it. This site has it too.

»www.eff.org/https-everywhere

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
Probably not. They will just exempt web sties who threaten action.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
If all the search sites made a message pop up that "Dear CMA customer, Search from your ISP is disabled due to ad injection" Their support lines at CMA would catch fire and burn from overload.

And it is a small ISP so CMA really has no method to fight back, Its not like squaring off with Comcast in a game of chicken. In this case the Googles and Apples of the world are the ones driving the semi and CMA is the one in the Mazda Miata.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

tlylework

@steadfastdns.net

They do this then....

They will do this type of thing and then bill you Per/GB charges... Awesome.
I've often wonder if I can charge back websites for the bandwidth they used sending me adds.
navalpatel

join:2003-07-28
Richardson, TX

Re: They do this then....

CMA actually does have bandwidth limits.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Subscriber screwed twice.

First subscriber is forced to view unwanted ads.

Second subscriber has the data downloaded to insert the ad, charged against their monthly allowance. I am sure the ISP does not have a way to exempt the subscriber from having the ad download from being charged against their monthly data allowance.

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME
Reviews:
·ObiVoice
·Pioneer Wireless

Websites will be then end of this

They don't care about the customers.

But showing ads over/instead of the content makers ads is gonna get them sued.

This is yet another reason to use non-ISP DNS and run a router based Ad Blocker.

With ad injection your still forced to see ads but they are not benefiting the content creator... Utter CRAP.
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
Mineral Wells, TX

Re: Websites will be then end of this

I tried to do a ad blocker on my router and didn't go so well.. in fact it made surfing slow on a E-3000!!! I need to relook into this

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME

Re: Websites will be then end of this

»www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Ad_blocking

Or... »www.untangle.com/store/ad-blocker.html
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

CMA

I am sure the point of these ads are so they can offer their internet packages at an affordable price. Looking at their website, you can get their blazing fast 7Mbps internet package with a generous 250GB cap for the low price of only $81.95 per month.

They truly give HughesNet a run for their money.

BonezX
Basement Dweller
Premium
join:2004-04-13
Canada
kudos:1

Re: CMA

I pay pretty much half that(and in CAD) for 20/2 no cap, in a place where there are only two ISP's.

I really hope your sarcastic.
navalpatel

join:2003-07-28
Richardson, TX

Re: CMA

Many areas served by CMA are only served by two fixed line bandwidth providers: (1) the cable co., CMA, and (2) the telco. Most of these areas are also rural and so their infrastructure hasn't been upgraded by whichever telco is servicing the area. So the option is usually either 3 Mb DSL or CMA if you want anything faster.

Sad.

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
I pay almost $20 less for 1.5 down 384 up...
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
Mineral Wells, TX

Re: CMA

I pay 35 and get 10mbps down and 1mbps up

Probitas

@teksavvy.com
That's robbery, utterly and plainly. No service at 7mb 250GB should cost more than around 40 bucks or so after taxes, if that much.

LC8290

join:2003-04-30
Cleveland, TX
Reviews:
·CMA Access

Well....

I'm a long standing customer with CMA. Their advertised price is outrageous but if you bundle with another service they give you a slight discount. Right now I'm paying $70 for basic cable and 6/512 internet with no contract.

Service is ok. When I first moved into the area I had problems with the connection not getting over 56K speeds. I called tech support and two days later they called back saying there was a noise issue that had been resolved. Since then speeds stay consistent and close to advertised speeds. During peak hours tho we have some slow downs that affect gaming and netflix.

As far as this advertising injection snafu I'm wondering how other users systems are setup. Knock on wood but I haven't experienced this advertising injection scheme yet. But I am on the lookout for it and will definitely blow up their customer support line to get information and get it resolved. In the days of data caps it's ridiculous.
jacour
Premium
join:2001-12-11
Matthews, NC

Mexico

When did the Mexicans disable their phone service?

Squire James

@embarqhsd.net

In Other News...

... the CEO of CMA Communications suddenly forgets how to speak English, and demands that all communications to him be performed in Spanish*.

*Note that this is not meant as a comment denigrating the Spanish language or its speakers in general - just specific people who suddenly see doing something stupid like this as an advantage.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Highly illegal

Many states have laws on the books prohibiting conversion (taking someone else's property and converting it to your own use). Also, they are violating the website publisher's rights, especially if the website gets it revenue from advertising.

They are looking at some serious legal hot water, and probably criminal charges as well.

Even if the subscribers signed away their rights, the lawsuits will come from the web publishers themselves and they probably cannot stand up to Google's attorneys (which are some of the best attorneys in the law profession).

If the company in question was my only choice for an ISP, I'd sign up for a VPN service.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

Everyone should be using AdBlock+ and HTTPS everywhere

Both plugins can be installed in Firefox and Chrome maybe others.

»adblockplus.org/

»www.eff.org/https-everywhere
--
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/

hyphenated

@mycingular.net

Re: Everyone should be using AdBlock+ and HTTPS everywhere

No we shouldnt. Why should we have to worry with this crap in the first place?
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

Re: Everyone should be using AdBlock+ and HTTPS everywhere

As long as ISP's are "for profit" businesses they are going to be working on way to make a profit off it's customers. Nothing wrong with that, it is the American way after all...

Regardless of crap like this that has happened numerous time in the past and continues to happen everyone should be using the two plugins I mentioned.

At least use HTTPS-Everywhere if nothing else.
--
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/

Cthen

join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI

My question is....

Who is going to be the responsible when (not if) these ads start to infect people's machines out there?
--
"I like to refer to myself as an Adult Film Efficienato." - Stuart Bondek
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: My question is....

I was just wondering that. That happens quite often actually. I would think they could be held liable for any damage.
Viper359
Premium
join:2006-09-17
Scarborough, ON
Reviews:
·voip.ms

lol

I love this>>"R66T boss Mick Hall replied by e-mail that he was currently in Mexico City, had a heavy meeting schedule, and had to deal with a "current poor Internet and telecommunications infrastructure" that made getting me more information impossible at the moment. However, he promised to speak more next week."

Maybe someone should point out, if he is going to hide behind bad telecom in Mexico, he should make sure he is in the mountains, as Mexico has some of the best telecom and internet services going. Sounds like someone trying to hide behind answering some tough questions with an old BS statement about bad, backward, outdated, behind the times Mexico. Hell, one of the Richest Men in the world, Carlos Slim (sp??) owns one of the largest telecom companies down there. I have been all over Mexico, from the big cities, to smaller towns, and have family that have retired there, they can honestly stand right up there with America and internet connectivity they have. So I do wonder, where is R66T box Mick Hall that he has such poor internet and telecom infrastructure. Most major cities, business districts, and tourist areas are well equipped. My parents have 10/2 dsl in a small village for petes sake. Meh, but what do I know, I just know my cell phone works fine everywhere I have pretty much been in Mexico, including off the beaten path, and oh, in the mountain's!. Cannot say the same for my own country.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Common Carrier

Currently the ISP's can claim immunity from illegal content because they are common carriers. I wonder if they would lose that status since they are actively engaged in content rather than passively moving it along. What happens if they start injecting ads on kiddie porn sites? Can they be charged for violating federal child pornography laws since they are modifying the contents and passing along their modified web content?
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
equivocal

join:2008-01-23
USA

They should be getting the Aaron Schwartz treatment

But, government won't touch a business even when what they do is blatantly illegal (hello, rachael from cardholder services).

By analogy...
FedEx, UPS, etc. have decided that they have the right and duty to open parcels and add alter the contents and add advertising.

Let's say some web developer adds javascript to their own pages that detects and neutralizes the ISP injection. The ISP retaliates by scrubbing the anti-injection code. Rinse. Repeat. Escalate. Do regulators ever get their heads out of their asses and put a stop to it? Or does the whole thing tip the other way and it becomes official policy that ISP can alter any bits transiting their lines?
pawpaw

join:2004-05-05
Greenville, SC

Not Internet

If they do this kind of thing, they can no longer claim to be selling internet connectivity. They should be prosecuted under truth in advertising laws, or call their service something else. I suggest Access Other Loser (AOL).