There’s tough love and then there’s borderline cruelty, and it would appear that one internet service provider (ISP) in the northeast is veering toward the latter. In what can only be described as a very, very serious line in the sand, local ISP Armstrong Zoom is suggesting that suspected content pirates could not only have their internet privileges revoked, but might also risk their smart thermostats and security systems. So if that doesn’t convince you to stop torrenting, we don’t know what will.
Around one million people in the Northeastern region of the U.S. use Armstrong Zoom’s internet services, and at least some of them are also using file-sharing services (which are, of course, illegal). While it’s not unusual for an ISP to throttle your bandwidth if they catch you breaking the law in such a way, this does appear to be one of the first times that a company so openly noted further consequences as well.
“If Armstrong receives additional notifications of infringement connected with your Zoom Internet Service, Armstrong will remove you from your current service level and place you at the lowest service level. This will allow you to access email, but limit your speeds and affect your ability to upload or download material to the internet or use other file-sharing capabilities,” wrote Armstrong Zoom in a letter to subscribers, which was first noted by TorrentFreak. The letter continues, “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.”
Of course, it’s not the case that Armstrong Zoom would purposefully make it difficult for you to use your connected devices — really, if any of its competitors throttled speeds, customers would similarly have trouble accessing their Nest thermostats. After all, if your internet is no faster than dial-up, there’s no way you’ll be able to connect to … well, much of anything. Armstrong Zoom, however, is being much more explicit in spelling out potential ramifications, which could be a much more effective way of getting people to stop pirating.
Given the well below freezing temperatures outside, this is not the time to be on your ISP’s bad side, especially if that ISP is Armstrong Zoom.