Despite the constant bashing that companies get for abusing their power and services over their customers, CenturyLink still felt like it was a good idea to cut off their services to customers’ internet access in order to promote their security software.
Utah customers went into a frenzy when CenturyLink had shut off their access to the internet until the customers had clicked “ok” on an advertisement showing off security software that CenturyLink had to offer.
This all started as a facade on CenturyLink’s part, stating in the pop-up that the customers had to be aware of their ability to block harmful material to minors, and CenturyLink as an ISP was required to inform them by state law. While there was no such action needed by state law, especially through the means of shutting off their customers’ internet access, they in fact were only required by state law to inform customers of their filtering software options.
The irony of this incident is that not less than a year ago the FCC had repealed net neutrality rules, restricting the option of ISP’s blocking and throttling internet access.
When prompted with this pop-up, customers were restricted by CenturyLink from any other form of internet access, causing quite a stir and confusion among users not on a desktop or phone. Some customers who were using streaming services on their television did not know about a pop-up until multiple calls to CenturyLink and the information that spread like wildfire over the internet in places like Twitter. Once customers found out they needed to hit “ok” on the pop-up, they were then directed to a page that thanked them for their time and stated their internet would be restored within five minutes.
The Utah State Senator acknowledged the problem and addressed the situation, stating that CenturyLink was only to provide the notice of filtering options through electronic communication, with the customers’ bills, or in any other conspicuous manner, not through blocking services.
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