I'm curious about the line in the new AUP that states it is a violation to "post off-topic information on message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites." Exactly what constitutes "off-topic" and which "message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites" are included. Is Verizon monitoring all of our network traffic to see if this occurs? Which component of Verizon makes the determination that a user has, in fact, posted something off topic?
While you certainly are entitled to protect the security and availability of your service, I'm curious what justification you feel you have to, in effect, proactively censor a customer's freedom of speech. If I were to, for example, post a reply on a medical message board with an opinion of what someone's medical condition may be, based on their listing of their symptoms, and it turns out that my diagnosis is entirely wrong (for example if I reply with a possible answer for a problem with someone's elbow and it is in fact an issue with their inner ear) would that constitute "off-topic"? If so, may I please ask how many doctors Verizon has on staff to make that determination. The same applies for any other possible topic about which I may post. So I know ahead of time, for which professions does Verizon make a point keeping employees on the payroll.
I'm assuming this post will not be considered a violation of the AUP. However, it is so broadly written it is impossible to know until I find that my Internet access has been discontinued.
12-01-2009 02:33 PM - edited 12-01-2009 02:34 PM
That line has been in the AUP for quite some time, I believe. A post like the one you described is not "off-topic" it is merely speculation about the matter at hand, regardless of whether it is wrong or right. Posting a reply on a medical message board about how you like rainbows and puppies would probably be considered "off-topic" by most definitions.
It is very important to note the last section of the AUP:
Verizon may, but is not required to, monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with the terms, conditions or policies of this Agreement and AUP. You acknowledge that Verizon shall have the right, but not the obligation, to pre-screen, refuse, move or remove any content available on the Service, including but not limited to content that violates the law or this Agreement.
It says Verizon reserves the right to monitor. Odds are they will only start looking into it if they get a report of a serious offense, otherwise why waste the money paying someone to watch you? I can almost guarantee Verizon isn't going to start booting customers for posting logical opinions. They would run out of customers very quickly.
I equate this to the open container rule that the police have. If you have an open beverage in your car while driving and the police officer sees it, they have the right to pull you over. Why? Because there could be alcohol in it, and it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car while you are driving. Now, odds are an officer isn't going to pull you over for having a coffee, and even if they did, they cannot arrest you as long as it is non-alcoholic. It's a right they reserve so they have legal grounds to stop people they suspect of drinking and driving.
Why would Verizon want to "catch" you if you aren't doing anything seriously wrong?
Somegirl, I think that's great in theory, but it's not exactly what they say: "You acknowledge that Verizon shall have the right, but not the obligation, to pre-screen, refuse, move or remove any content available on the Service." I want to know how they differentiate between "on" and "via." By saying "not the obligation" they get themselves out of hot water if someone does something and they didn't catch it. "Sorry, your honor. We're not actually obligated to check this stuff."
A few more:
"I can almost guarantee Verizon isn't going to start booting customers for posting logical opinions. They would run out of customers very quickly." - OK, but I want to know how they determine what's logical. That's not their call.
"they cannot arrest you as long as it is non-alcoholic." - Sure they can. The charge may not stick, but they can arrest you. But you are guaranteed the right to a trial. Verizon can kick you off. Good having any similar guarantee of a challenge short of the FTC.
"Why would Verizon want to "catch" you if you aren't doing anything seriously wrong?" - I'm guessing there are plenty of other parts of the Terms of Service or the multitude of other documents that you sign when you get the service. This is a very particular clause to add. I'm asking why they felt the need to call it out. Like your signature file says, "All knowledge is worth having." I'd like to have this knowledge.