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CAP Talk  |  Cadet Programs  |  Cadet Programs Management & Activities  |  Topic: Technology Ethics (Potential topic for CD Class)
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Author Topic: Technology Ethics (Potential topic for CD Class)  (Read 3888 times)
Майор Хаткевич
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Salty & Seasoned Contributor

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Unit: GLR-IL-049

« on: May 16, 2011, 09:13:20 PM »

I was finally bored enough and rooted my Droid X phone.

For those who don't know, "Rooting" is basically gaining advanced access to the phone operating system, allowing extra features and more options for changes.

One of the most popular tools accessible after a "Root"? Wireless Tethering of your phone. Basically, you turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot which lets you use the internet on your phone on other devices.

Now the "ethical" dilemma.

The major carriers (all of them?) require you to pay a $20 dollar fee / month to use the "wifi" feature that they put on the phone, while restricting the naturally built in availability. However, this is ONLY turning on the wifi feature, and you are using the 3G/4G internet connection that your phone has and you pay around $30 a month for.

Now, there are legal tools (A court actually just ruled that consumers CAN "root" their phones) that let you access this capability and avoid the extra $20 / month.

So the question. Is it ethical to use the "root" features to gain access to wifi broadcasting capabilities, or not? Should you have to pay an extra 67% for your internet JUST to use a feature already part of your phone?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 11:03:57 PM by MIKE » Logged
thatonekid
Member

Posts: 94

« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 09:15:58 PM »

No, they need to come up with a better way to lock up their phones.
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C/MSgt Collins
Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 09:21:24 PM »

No, they need to come up with a better way to lock up their phones.

It's my phone.

According to the Federal government I can root it. So am I being ethical?

Is the cell phone company being ethical trying to remove ALL tethering apps (allowing you to use your phone internet on another device), as well as trying to make rooting the phone harder?
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thatonekid
Member

Posts: 94

« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2011, 09:23:27 PM »

Ethical enough...if they do give up phones and phone service will drastically increase in price.
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C/MSgt Collins
Eclipse
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Posts: 28,946

« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 09:29:41 PM »

As a rooter myself I believe this is ethical, and if anything the ethical issue is on the carriers for making a marketing choice in
locking basic features that other carriers do not.  Since you are paying for your usage, you aren't stealing anything.  If you were doing
something to actually enable carrier access without paying, I'd say you were stealing, but that is not what you are doing.

The carrier, however, would be well within their TOS if you abuse their network to throttle your bandwidth and / or disable your data service.
Also, Motorola would be within their rights to disavow any warranty claim.

Essentially you do it at your own risk, with all parties having some advantage / disadvantage.  As you mention above, this has already been held as legal, despite the attempts by the manufacturers and carriers to limit your device abilities.
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Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 08:46:41 AM »

The answer to your question is clear:

The carriers require a fee for tethering; however you tether, you owe them money.

While rooting is legal and allows you to tether, if you get caught by the company, be prepared for a huge bill.

This is no different than walking into a store and taking something without paying. The store requires a person to pay for the item but, if they can sneak out of the store, it's OK to take that item, right? Didn't think so.

It's theft of telecommunication service, which is illegal; check your local jurisdiction.

Is theft pursuant to the core value of integrity?
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
HGjunkie
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Posts: 1,620

« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 10:51:51 AM »

Why should the carriers be able to restrict something that is built into the phone and charge extra for you to be able to use it? Is that ethical?

This also applies to jailbreaking. I have an ipod touch which I jailbroke to get around apple having ridiculously locked software. The device belongs to the consumer, not the company. If I want to be able to get around the restrictions in my electronic device, I have that right. I've paid for it, Its my property.
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retired
2d Lt USAF
Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 11:09:02 AM »

Just because a feature is available on the phone, doesn't mean that using it automatic for you.

If you buy a phone, but don't buy the texting plan, are you entitled to use texting for free? After-all, the texting is a part of the capabilities of the phone.

Yes, the phone is your property, but the cell towers, communication trunk lines, etc are not - they are the carriers' and your use of those services is a burden that the company has to recoup. Let's say that a given cell tower supports 100 tethered data users (100 of which are paying for the service) and someone who does not buy tethering becomes user 101, then another, etc. So, now there are 150 tethered users and the company has to upgrade the tower to support the increase in users since there is a finite about of bandwidth that can be provided and it's getting divided up between more and more users. Now, the company has to spend a significant amount of money to upgrade that tower so that all the customers (namely the paying customers whose service quality has dropped from the increased load) are happy, but the company is not getting the money for the non-paying tethering customers, so guess who gets to foot the bill for the upgrade - the paying customers.

The point is - the law clearly says that it is illegal to steal communication service for which one is not entitled. For those that don't like the law, I would advise that a letter to the local representatives is in order.
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
davidsinn
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Posts: 3,021
Unit: NW-IN

« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 11:26:18 AM »

Just because a feature is available on the phone, doesn't mean that using it automatic for you.

If you buy a phone, but don't buy the texting plan, are you entitled to use texting for free? After-all, the texting is a part of the capabilities of the phone.

Yes, the phone is your property, but the cell towers, communication trunk lines, etc are not - they are the carriers' and your use of those services is a burden that the company has to recoup. Let's say that a given cell tower supports 100 tethered data users (100 of which are paying for the service) and someone who does not buy tethering becomes user 101, then another, etc. So, now there are 150 tethered users and the company has to upgrade the tower to support the increase in users since there is a finite about of bandwidth that can be provided and it's getting divided up between more and more users. Now, the company has to spend a significant amount of money to upgrade that tower so that all the customers (namely the paying customers whose service quality has dropped from the increased load) are happy, but the company is not getting the money for the non-paying tethering customers, so guess who gets to foot the bill for the upgrade - the paying customers.

The point is - the law clearly says that it is illegal to steal communication service for which one is not entitled. For those that don't like the law, I would advise that a letter to the local representatives is in order.

There is zero difference between a phone pulling down data for use on the phone and a phone pulling down data to forward to another device. They both have the same drain on the infrastructure. The only way to find out what the difference is, is header inspection or deep packet inspection. Both of which are an invasion of your privacy.
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Former CAP Captain
David Sinn
Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2011, 11:37:09 AM »

That is entirely true that data is data, whether the phone's own data or for tethering.

However, the additional drain on infrastructure caused by tethering use over just phone use is a valid point - if a user is tethering, there is higher probability that there will be more data pulled down via apps such as VOIP, music, video, etc on the connected computer. When just using the phone's data, the use of these services is lessened due to the form factor of the device.

During a typical month, my iPhone's mobile data usage is less than a GB, even with heavy email, surfing use, etc. My unit's Verizon air card pulls down sometimes a hundred GB or more in a month, tethered to the laptop and all of it is for CAP use and not fun-and-games. Clearly, my unit's air card is a much larger drain on the network than my iPhone.
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
a2capt
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Posts: 5,095
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2011, 11:40:40 AM »

Especially when it's an information rich device like an iPhone, iPad, Droid, that is a unix appliance under the pretty pictures and capable of delivering for all intents, identical experience as a desktop.  ... and the plan is being paid for.

It's also not without precedent. These same carriers still do offer in some cases, and used to offer more broadly, this ability. So you have the identical data plan you had previously, you upgrade your device, you are now artificially locked out from something you have used maybe for like the last 9-10 years..
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davidsinn
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Posts: 3,021
Unit: NW-IN

« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2011, 11:57:21 AM »

My unit's Verizon air card pulls down sometimes a hundred GB or more in a month, tethered to the laptop and all of it is for CAP use and not fun-and-games.

I highly doubt that. VZW offers two plans for data only. 5gb for $50 and 10gb for $80 with $10 per gb over that. You're trying to tell me you spend $1000 per month on data? That's ignoring the fact that the amount of data you quoted is triple what my whole house uses for three computers doing youtube, facebook(farmville for my mother) gaming and heavy webrowsing.

If you're trying to make a point don't exaggerate into the realm of absurdity.
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Former CAP Captain
David Sinn
Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 12:13:53 PM »

Ohio Wing has a negotiated contract with Verizon for unlimited data plans; Wing pays $20 for each unit who also pays $20, so $40 per month total per air card.
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
davidsinn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 3,021
Unit: NW-IN

« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 12:16:31 PM »

Ohio Wing has a negotiated contract with Verizon for unlimited data plans; Wing pays $20 for each unit who also pays $20, so $40 per month total per air card.

OK that takes care of the overages. I still can't figure out how you use 100gb in a month.
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Former CAP Captain
David Sinn
a2capt
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Posts: 5,095
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 12:23:24 PM »

Heh, I use the heck out of 3G data via Sprint ... but when I saw '100gb' the first thing that flashed through my mind was.. "I'd still be waiting..." if I started it last month.

I know, it's not that slow but thats quite a bit, too. But I can believe it.
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Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 223
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 12:28:01 PM »

Since the two squadron laptops are used by many staff members, I cannot speak for every bit of data that crosses the wire. Now, 100GB is not every single month, month in and month out. But, I have seen it.

But, with two active laptops at most of our meetings, our unit data being synced to the cloud, online training and testing, OS and app updates, plus training videos and whatever else, it's not trivial.

We have decent Verizon service in our area.
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
Al Sayre
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,515
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2011, 12:40:45 PM »

Just because a feature is available on the phone, doesn't mean that using it automatic for you.

If you buy a phone, but don't buy the texting plan, are you entitled to use texting for free? After-all, the texting is a part of the capabilities of the phone.

Yes, the phone is your property, but the cell towers, communication trunk lines, etc are not - they are the carriers' and your use of those services is a burden that the company has to recoup. Let's say that a given cell tower supports 100 tethered data users (100 of which are paying for the service) and someone who does not buy tethering becomes user 101, then another, etc. So, now there are 150 tethered users and the company has to upgrade the tower to support the increase in users since there is a finite about of bandwidth that can be provided and it's getting divided up between more and more users. Now, the company has to spend a significant amount of money to upgrade that tower so that all the customers (namely the paying customers whose service quality has dropped from the increased load) are happy, but the company is not getting the money for the non-paying tethering customers, so guess who gets to foot the bill for the upgrade - the paying customers.

The point is - the law clearly says that it is illegal to steal communication service for which one is not entitled. For those that don't like the law, I would advise that a letter to the local representatives is in order.

That being the case, then the service owners need to put the restictions on the equipment that is their property, not the private property of others.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
Bluelakes 13
Seasoned Member

Posts: 293

« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2011, 12:42:15 PM »

The phone is irrelevant in this context. 

The provider charges extra for tethering. 

If you use tethering, you pay extra. 
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coudano
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,124

« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2011, 12:52:01 PM »

Yah i'd be interested in seeing the TOS and/or contract that you signed when you agreed to use the service.
I'll bet it says things along the lines of you not accessing the network except through approved methods.

If you signed that agreement, and it does say something like that,
then you are bound to it, both ethically and legally.

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jimmydeanno
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Unit: ǝnƃoɹ

« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2011, 01:11:39 PM »

I highly doubt that. VZW offers two plans for data only. 5gb for $50 and 10gb for $80 with $10 per gb over that.

Yeah, for new customers.

I have unlimited data for my VZW phone, which costs me $30/mo.

My mother has a mobile hotspot from VZW with unlimited data for $30/mo.

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If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. - Winston Churchill
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CAP Talk  |  Cadet Programs  |  Cadet Programs Management & Activities  |  Topic: Technology Ethics (Potential topic for CD Class)
 


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