Downloading movies and television shows via torrents could have severe consequences in your home
Downloading files via torrents could wreck havoc with your thermostat, according to the latest warning from a popular US Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Armstrong Zoom, which has around one million customers in the United States, purportedly mailed out a letter to subscribers who they suspect have used their broadband connection to pirate television shows and movies via torrents.
As you’d expect, the letter highlights the illegality of downloading copyrighted content without permission from the rights holders.
However, Armstrong Zoom also warns about how account suspension could leave some customers struggling to heat their homes.
The letter reads: “In accordance with the Terms and Conditions, Armstrong’s copyright infringement policy, and federal law, please be advised that, if Armstrong receives additional notifications of infringement connected with your Zoom Internet Service, Armstrong will remove you from your current internet service level and place you at the lowest service level.
“Please be advised that this may affect other services which you may have connected to your internet service, such as the ability to control your thermostat remotely or video monitoring services.”
It’s not an exaggeration, those who have outfitted their home with a smart heating system would struggle to access the same level of functionality on a dial-up connection.
As the letter highlights, home security cameras are not always able to work on a dial-up system, either.
Smart locks would also be affected.
As more and more crucial home appliances become reliant on an internet connection, the consequences of losing your home Wi-Fi become increasingly severe.
For those who don’t know, torrent files are not in and of themselves intrinsically illegally. But those used to download copyrighted content for free without the permission of the rights holders are.
Torrents do not contain the file you wish to download, but instead, enables your computer to download the requested data in small chunks from a network of online participants.
Popular torrent websites like Kickass Torrents, ExtraTorrent and Torrentz.eu have all shutdown within the last year.
As more and more crucial home appliances become reliant on an internet connection, the consequences of losing your home Wi-Fi become increasingly severe
The Pirate Bay – the most well-known example of a torrent repository – is currently banned in the UK by most Internet Service Providers, or ISPs.
The Armstrong Zoom warning was first spotted by piracy blog TorrentFreak.
According to the letter, customers accused of pirating by who want their full service restored are required to answer some copyright questions and read an educational piece about copyright infringement.
After that, they need to sign an agreement acknowledging they have completed the aforementioned requirements.
If more complaints about copyright infringement are filed, Armstrong Zoom says the consequences will be more severe.
“…if Armstrong received additional notifications after you sign the Acknowledgement, your Zoom Internet Service will be terminated,” the letter states.
UK torrent users have received similar emails warning about downloading content illegally
This is a harsher punishment than those listed in equivalent letters mailed to UK home broadband customers.
Dubbed Get It Right, the anti-piracy campaign sees UK ISPs mail-out warnings to subscribers whose accounts have been used to download copyrighted material.
The email cautions subscribers they have 20 days to stop downloading copyrighted material using peer-to-peer websites.
Should your Internet service provider detect more illegal activity from your IP address during the 20 day grace period – another educational email from the Get It Right campaign will be sent.
According to the campaign website, “The Get it Right Educational Email programme is designed to educate consumers about what’s happening on their Internet Service Provider (ISP) account.
“The programme is to help to make sure they, or people that use their connection, are not infringing copyright and to direct them to sources where they get the content they want from genuine sites and services.”
Sky, BT, NowTV, PlusNet, Talk-Talk and Virgin Media have all signed-up to the Get It Right campaign.