Home » CenturyLink »Consumer News »Editorial & Site News »Net Neutrality »Public Policy & Gov't » Currently Reading:

Your CenturyLink Internet Access Blocked Until You Acknowledge Their Ad

Phillip Dampier December 20, 2018 CenturyLink, Consumer News, Editorial & Site News, Net Neutrality, Public Policy & Gov't 1 Comment

(Image courtesy of: Rick Snapp)

CenturyLink customers in Utah were rudely interrupted earlier this month by an ad for CenturyLink’s pricey security and content filtering software that left their internet access disabled until they acknowledged reading the ad.

Dear Utah Customer,

Your internet security and experience is important to us at CenturyLink.

The Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection requires CenturyLink to inform you of filtering software available to you. This software can be used to block material that may be deemed harmful to minors.

CenturyLink’s @Ease product is available here and provides the availability of such software.

As a result of the forced ad, all internet activity stopped working until a customer opened a browser session to first discover the notification, then clear it by hitting the “OK” button at the bottom of the screen. This irritated customers who use the internet for more than just web browsing.

One customer told Ars Technica he was watching his Fire TV when streaming suddenly stopped. After failed attempts at troubleshooting, the customer checked his web browser and discovered the notification message. After clicking “OK,” his service resumed.

A CenturyLink spokesperson told KSL News, “As a result of the new law, all CenturyLink high-speed internet customers in Utah must acknowledge a pop-up notice, which provides information about the availability of filtering software, in order to access the internet.”

In fact, according to a detailed report by Ars Technica, CenturyLink falsely claimed that the forced advertisement was required by Utah state law, when in fact the company would be in full compliance simply by notifying such software was available “in a conspicuous manner.”

CenturyLink chose to turn the Utah law to their profitable advantage by exclusively promoting its own product — @Ease, a costly ISP-branded version of Norton Security. CenturyLink recommended customers choose its Advanced package, which costs $14.95 a month. But parental filtering and content blocking tools are not even mentioned on the product comparison page, leaving customers flummoxed about which option to choose.

In effect, CenturyLink captured an audience and held their internet connection hostage — an advantage most advertisers can only dream about. CenturyLink countered that only residential customers had their usage restricted, and that because of the gravity of the situation, extraordinary notification methods were required.

But as Ars points out, no other ISP in the state went to this extreme level (and used it as an opportunity to make more money with self-interested software pitches).

Bill sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler (R), said ISPs were in compliance simply by putting a notice on a monthly bill or sending an e-mail message to customers about the software. Weiler added that ISPs had all of 2018 to comply and most had already done so. AT&T, for example, included the required notice in a monthly bill statement. CenturyLink waited until the last few weeks of the year, and used it as an opportunity to upsell customers to expensive security solutions most do not need.

With the demise of net neutrality, ISPs that were forbidden to block or throttle content for financial gain are now doing so, with a motivation to make even more money from their customers.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. LG says:

    They have no idea how dangerous this is. Many of us use VOIP phones, and if it happened in my home I wouldn’t have access to 911 service. There are 3 elderly people in this S. Florida residence.. and doing this put lives at risk.. and this is just one house out of millions. I feel like I dodged a bullet with this, since I nearly bought into their service last week when our overpriced Con-cast “promotion” ended. Maybe there’s another option…

    They say “we ONLY did this to residential services…”. God that makes me angry. I can just imagine the class action and criminal lawsuit of any families that were hurt or killed in a lack of emergency access. The person at the top should be liable for financial damages and criminal prosecution. NEVER mess with phones… Worse still, these were phones that were PAID FOR. This wasn’t someone delinquent on their bill being warned for the last time..







Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • lon wing: This is a very good reporting. I hope every cable cutter reads it before they purchase an antenna .I am on the board of directors of a local UHF Trans...
  • EJ: So from the article this is what happened. The first part of the loop went down and switched to the second part of the loop. The second part of the lo...
  • Phillip Dampier: It is broadband at 3am when nobody is using it. Satellite internet may eventually get better, but not in the near future. DSL is dead technology and g...
  • Phillip Dampier: It's not an award, it is a sentence to be stuck with satellite. It sounds like your census block was deemed already served (except for you and some ne...
  • Phillip Dampier: We recommend if you cannot get Greenlight in your neighborhood, you consider canceling service under your name and signing up under a spouse or family...
  • KC: Decided to try the relatively new LiveWave antenna that is supposed to use the electric wiring in you house to receive TV signals. After waiting over...
  • fsalfjdsalk: @Patrick: Whatever you do, do not let Charter charge you $5/mo to have WiFi. The fact that it's even legal for them to do so is beyond me. It's rob...
  • Michael j masterson: I Live in North Hudson not in the town proper.We have been dealing with Hughesnt For 10 years now.Always praying for something better..,.much better....
  • Bill Callahan: Windstream has our house in rural Ashtabula County, OH on its list of addresses that were upgraded (in 2016) with its $175 million in CAF II subsidies...
  • EJ: Charter we appreciate your concern in this manner. We value your complaint and will review it. If need be we send this to arbitration to review the co...
  • Dylan: You could use their router which is an extra $5 a month (a great router usually) or I would recommend looking around either on Amazon or somewhere for...
  • Sean: It is hard to imagine a company with worse customer service than Directv.....as a caretaker for someone who has an account with them and has been a c...

Your Account: