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Comcast sued for creating public hotspots using private wireless routers

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posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:16 PM

Comcast customers filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in federal court, claiming that its business practices result in higher electricity costs, slower internet connections and increased security vulnerabilities

on behalf of all Xfinity customers ‒ accuse Comcast of using their leased router without their permission, leading to a higher financial burden, lower productivity and increased security vulnerabilities

Comcast’s practices, they claim... ...violates several federal and California laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 USC § 1030), the state’s Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law

The new wireless routers the Company issues consume vastly more electricity in order to broadcast the second, public Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspot, which cost is born [sic] by the residential customer

this unauthorized broadcasting of a secondary, public Wi-Fi network from the customer’s wireless router degrades the performance of the customer’s home Wi-Fi network

any activity on the public Xfinity WiFi Hotspot will appear as though it originated from the Comcast customer’s IP address


So apparently Comcast has been providing routers to customers of their internet service, and then turning those private routers into public hotspots over which anyone can access the internet. This has raised the cost of electricity and decreased the performance of the internet connection.
Does Comcast have the right to do this? Is it even legal? All I know for sure is that if it was up to me, I certainly would not pay for internet service from a company who practices such things.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:31 PM
If Comcast wants to provide free internet access with their hotspot routers then why do their customers have to pay to use the router? why can`t their customers use the router free too?
It seems like Comcast is using it`s customers, and their hotspot routers,as free advertising.
anyone who is paying Comcast for the privilege of hosting hotspots for Comcast is a FOOL!

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:40 PM
A hackers wet dream.

They would be able to hack into the customers computer data stream and grab CC# ect ect

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:47 PM
a reply to: trollz

Holy shizznit, that is an incredible fraud on its customers!

I guarantee you there is going to be some "fine print" somewhere that shows up buried in a terms and conditions of theirs...

If so, I will be looking for it now because that it is complete and total robbery!!!

Plain and simple... you are causing all of someone's devices to work harder against interference that would not be present otherwise ... slowing down the "as advertised" bandwidth that they're supposed to have... using their electricity... and providing a channel in which someone could externally attack their router / gateway to shut down their internet connection and possibly (depending on your service), disrupt your phone service since it usually runs through the Comcast router if you have their phone service. This, in effect, could also disarm your home alarm if you use them for that as well.

Those are some serious offenses and punitive consequences to their customers. I see a major payout coming, and Comcast might have to break up into small pieces to take a blow like this and knock them down a peg from the behemoth that they've become.


posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:56 PM
a reply to: ANNED

Point A - Hacking

It's not quite that simple. Anyone who has enough expertise to pull that off isn't going to bother doing it, the reward just isn't there.

It's just like wifi security. It just has to be secure enough to make it not worth it.

Point B - Electricity Usage

This is a very minor cost at best. For crying out loud your modem is on 24/7. What are they seeking to gain with this claim? Comcast would just raise the price of their service and add in a re-reimbursement.

Point C - Slower Internet Connection

If you are not using the maximum bandwidth of the line (not the service you are paying for) then they could offer this service without a problem and just cap the xfinity hotspot to the difference.

I'm really failing to understand the outrage over this. It's one of the few things that Comcast has done with their monopoly that isn't a cash grab at their clients. We should be praising them for maximizing their reach.

A final, separate thought: Everything you have on your computer or do on the internet could be attained by someone if they wanted that information bad enough. Never assume anything is safe because it is not. This doesn't change a thing.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 06:58 PM
More to the point, kiddie porn and threats to the president will look like they're originating from the customer's IP, not the hot spot. Oh, hell no.

eta: or worse...TORRENTS. I don't want to be paying Warner $2000 a movie I didn't even steal, or whatever the going rate is these days.
edit on 10-12-2014 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:05 PM
a reply to: zerogee14
The problem I have with it is that they are telling their customers (myself included) that they are getting a free wireless router as part of a promotion or that is how it came to be in my home when I moved my business class service to my current location. Upon installation, I was surprised to see that it has a 2.5 and 5 ghz network for my private network and then there is a separate public network. I talked to the tech and he said it was their new public WiFi and that any Comcast customer could get service from the street via this WAN.

I called their support line and had to have them download a script to turn it off once I got to a tech on the second support tier.

While the network is isolated from my own networks, why would I want to pay for someone else's convenience. I don't roam the neighborhoods looking for service and I don't like the idea of building their WAN on my nickel.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:17 PM
Comcast has been doing this for a while now and most of their customers have no clue its even happening. I work in tech support and have ran into many issues caused by these unauthorized wifi signals. Everything from someone using up network ports the client needs, or wifi interference causing all sorts of issues with other wireless devices the customer owns.

To prevent this, i have suggested to a few people to talk comcast into providing a plain cable modem so the customer can use his own router, but comcast will not budge and refuses to cooperate. They have their own custom comcast firmware that has a ton of issues not even counting the unauthorized wifi signal, but they want that firmware in every house they can. I can only assume that they have plans or reasons for wanting custom firmware in every house and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out it was for tracking/monitoring purposes.

Bottom line: The ISP monopoly needs to end, Comcast needs to be run out of business and people should be able to utilize their internet how they see fit, as long as its legal.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:21 PM
I unplug my router when were not using it. I guess I was thinking ahead. No wonder there's no on off switch.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 07:45 PM
a reply to: xDeadcowx

I agree, the ISP monopoly sucks.

I'm just saying this isn't one of those things people should be complaining about. It's complaining for the sake of complaining in my opinion.

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 08:11 PM
People that are unaware have a right to complain here, they should be telling customers what's going on in this situation. Plenty would back on their network given it is free and open, let alone those who have their computers unprotected.

originally posted by: mikell
I unplug my router when were not using it. I guess I was thinking ahead. No wonder there's no on off switch.

Wouldn't put it past 'em. Same, gotta be one step ahead. Wish more would learn to do that at least with web cams!

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 08:23 PM
Its not a free hotspot. You have to log in with your browser and it gives you an option to pay per hour via credit card.

They are such crooks!

posted on Dec, 10 2014 @ 08:25 PM
I noticed I had one called hidden network now it's called other network.


posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 08:54 AM
You can also opt out and disable it via your account online so search google. It's a separate isolated network. Also these routers are capable of Comcast's highest tiered throutput, so I would imagine the isolated public WiFi is getting its own bandwidth aside from your own. You really shouldn't see that much of a difference.

Also, in order to gain access you have to either log in to your Comcast account or use a credit card, both of which are logged to any data you use. So you can be legally held accountable for illegal doings, not the customer that is leasing the cable modem. It's not tied to your account.
edit on 11-12-2014 by porschedrifter because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 09:08 AM
The cost of the extra electric needed to power the router is silly and the ISP must ensure that the extra connection has its own IP-Address and MAC adress.

I think this is also going on with other providers but where i live these type of connections can cost you $5.00 an hour if the connection is not from your own ISP.

Anyone using these free routers that ISP installs all need a leason in security anyway and spending $150 on a decent firewall/router is the best money you will ever spend IMO

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 09:24 AM

originally posted by: LoneGunMan
Its not a free hotspot. You have to log in with your browser and it gives you an option to pay per hour via credit card.

They are such crooks!

Yes i agree they charge far too much but i sometime run a second wifi router with the WAN port connected to a PC that works as a gateway and hope all those extra Flash-cookies, HTML5 Canvus fingerprints, Spyware cookies screws up any profile thats been built up for my browsing habbits.

Sure i run the risk of child porn being downloaded and the police kicking in my door but the cost of freedom for others and my privacy makes it worth it.

WARNING I could add some code that peeks on any HTTP POSTS to pull out passwords and user names if HTTPS is not being used or hijack the DNS before my own upstream ISP hijacks it like they are doing more and more but i don't

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 09:38 AM
Easy solution - buy your own modem and don't use a Comcast provided one modem/router combo.

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 10:16 AM
a reply to: Pimpish

Then you deal with outages and connectivity issues... I'm told brought on by them to force you to get their equipment. (It's maddening)

Good ole satan ISP. that turd sandwich of an ISP seems better and better every day.
edit on 11-12-2014 by mindseye1609 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 10:31 AM
Well I'll tell you what will happen if they lose. The cost will be calculated for extra power consumption then subtracted from the bill. Then they use their magic fees to make it up. This is the MO for most companies of that size.

posted on Dec, 11 2014 @ 12:08 PM
a reply to: trollz

I turned off my public hotspot. it was interfering with the wifi in my home.

I urge everyone to do so as well.

While it's debatable that anyone can access your home computers network if connected to that wifi hotspot. Don't take the chance. disable it.

How do I disable/enable the Home Hotspot feature?

We encourage all subscribers to keep this feature enabled as it allows more people to enjoy the benefits of XFINITY WiFi, but you will always have the ability to disable the XFINITY WiFi feature on your Wireless Gateway. Visit My Account at click on “Users & Preferences” and then select “Manage XFINITY WiFi” or call 1-800-XFINITY
edit on 11-12-2014 by grey580 because: (no reason given)

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