Could visiting torrent sites get your Sprint contract terminated?

Sprinttermination

I should preface this with I'm not advocating illegal activity and I'm actually not in a huff against Sprint like I usually am, this is just something interesting to look out for.

A month ago a user posted on XDA that they were being terminated for accessing torrent sites. While the story there was one where torrent data was being transferred over the 4G network on a Sprint Overdrive box, another person has mentioned in our forums that simply accessing a torrent site will get you a phone call from the Sprint Roaming Department warning you of termination the next time you do it.

While obviously attempting to transfer several hundred megabytes of data over the air is an abuse to other people on the same tower or network, applications such as TransDroid or uTorrent Remote (which our forum user used) take a torrent file and send it to your home computer to process and download, keeping Sprint's bandwidth completely out of the loop of any bittorrent traffic.

You might think that all torrent sites are bad, filled with stolen software and people with two to three Xs in their handles. There are, however, a ton of legitimate legal torrent sites out there (here's a very short list that could theoreticallly get you terminated if you look at them using Sprint's bandwidth). And even the content on torrent sites that host illegal material in the US is not all illegal. Nine Inch Nails, for example, released an album called Ghosts that was distributed primarily through illicit torrent sites completely legally.

So what happens if someone tricks you into visiting a torrent site, or you just tap a link that took you there off of a search?

It seems like Sprint, since they're watching everything we do, would simply put up a roadblock to accessing torrent sites they disagree with like they did when they had Google hide Wireless Tether for Root from appearing on your EVOs. They can simply take the site and redirect it to their acceptable use policy page since they own their own DNS servers.

Sure, there are ways around them redirecting the DNS, but legitimate law-abiding users would not have to worry about accidentally tapping on a search result then getting warning calls from Sprint after visiting a place that's considered a torrent site.

You may wonder why I might be interested in this. It's a good question. One of my many jobs is working for a company that has made a movie or three. Occasionally I will be asked to see if one of those movies has been stolen. One of the big things in the film industry at the moment is to scrape IMDB and then claim, using that info, that the site you're visiting has that torrent available for download with a one-time sign-up fee. I go, see if it's real in the US, and report back.

Part of my not being in an office chained to a computer all the time involves my being able to do anything I can do at a computer over my phone. As far as I can tell, there's no other network out there that will threaten to  terminate you for looking at a torrent site and not transferring stolen material over it. And although I can simply set up a VPN on a different network when I have to browse these sites, it's kind of silly to have to worry about.

While I assume Sprint is basically going after people who are obviously pirating material (no offense if you weren't, thebarntour), you know what you get when you assume: a $350 early termination fee and a $200 phone that's now useless.

Anyone else get threatened with a termination after visiting a torrent site? Any Sprint employees here who care to shed some light on what torrent sites they're targeting?

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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