Originally published: April 29, 2012
Last updated: April 29, 2012 - 4:30pm
Cablevision was sued by two consumers -- Alyce Serrano and Andrea Londono. They accused the company of violating a federal anti-hacking statute by accessing their computers without authorization in order to throttle peer-to-peer traffic.
Serrano and Londono, who sought class-action status, also alleged that Cablevision violated consumer protection laws by using phrases like "blazing fast speed" in its ads. The company insisted that the lawsuit against it should be dismissed. Late last month, U.S. District Court Judge Dora Irizarry in Brooklyn (NY) agreed with Cablevision. Judge Irizarry granted the ISP summary judgment, ruling that its terms of service gave it the right to take action to prevent consumers from using "excessive" bandwidth. "Plaintiffs cannot now claim that Cablevision acted 'without authorization' when it restricted their bandwidth," Judge Irizarry wrote. The judge also dismissed the consumer protection claims, ruling that Cablevision's statements about its fast speeds were "mere puffery," as opposed to legally binding terms. Now the consumers filed an appeal. It could take the appellate court more than a year to issue a decision. Meanwhile, the case shows that consumer lawsuits against individual ISPs are anything but a surefire way of enforcing neutrality principles.
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