Comcast is already has a reputation as being one of the worst companies in America, and now it wants to become one of the most annoying.
As a part of the industry’s new “six strikes” antipiracy system, Comcast will hijack suspected pirates’ web browsers with a persistent pop-pop notification, preventing them from accessing the Internet until they change their ways. (Comcast calls it a “mitigation measure.”)
Comcast says the browser hijacking will only go into effect after customers fail to respond to multiple previous Copyright Alerts like the one to the right. This means that no one should be surprised when Comcast cuts them off.
“If a consumer fails to respond to several Copyright Alerts, Comcast will place a persistent alert in any web browser under that account until the account holder contacts Comcast’s Customer Security Assurance professionals to discuss and help resolve the matter,” Comcast says.
Fortunately, Comcast says that it will never use the system to terminate accounts, nor does it affect so-called essential services like VOIP (because web browsing isn’t an “essential service,” it seems).
Still, false positives could be a problem. As with anything involving IP addresses and piracy, this sort of thing is an inexact science: While Comcast knows which customer is attached to which IP address, the same can’t be said for copyright holders, who have a track record of suing dead people, grandmas, and people who don’t even have computers.
That should, of course, horrify you if you’re Comcast customer, which — let’s be honest — is a bad enough status as it is.