KDtech: Ethics - Android Root Tethering and Verizon Communism

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Ethics - Android Root Tethering and Verizon Communism

One of the most talked about issues with regards to Android Rooting is Wifi Tethering or Hotspot without paying for the additional charges for the exact same service through Verizon’s Hotspot application. Is Root Wifi Tethering stealing or not? First, I do not condone stealing of any kind. But Root Tethering is a touchy issue and I am here to give you a potentially new perspective on the topic so that you can make a choice for yourself. Also, I am not a lawyer and suggest you consult one if you are worried about the legalities of tethering.

Lets first clear up what Root Tethering or Hotspot really is. Your Android phone or tablet which has a cell tower connection is receiving internet data called bits or 1’s and 0’s. Those bits or 1’s and 0’s add up to build the webpage you see, the movie you are streaming, or anything else you may do with your Android device. These bits happen to be the exact same thing you view on your home computer when connected to the internet. At home you get to see those bits on any device you choose from your computer to your television. Verizon, as other United States base carriers, only want you to use the cell tower bits on your device you bought from them unless you want to pay about double the price for the exact same bits. For whatever reason this extra double payment makes Verizon fell good about you sharing your bits among your other devices.

I could maybe agree with the argument that if you have unlimited data or bits from Verizon and you use Root Tethering then that could be seen as stealing. But that went out the window when Verizon went to pay as you go plans with limitations on the bits. A person now pays for exactly the amount of bits they get. And if they go over that agreed upon limit the person can get big time charges depending on their plan. It is against Verizon policy to use Root Tether, but policy is not law. Lets take a plan with a 3gig limit on bits. So, you decide to download 3 gigs of stuff at the very beginning of the month leaving nothing for the rest. Or you spread out the bits over the month to include a little email, some video streaming, and maybe a little music. No matter how you use it you still get 3 gigs of bits. Video, music, email, app data, or anything else looks as bits to Verizon. Bits are bits no matter what and they never run out like oil or water. As long as the company is in business bits can be created indefinitely. So what does it matter if you use your 3 gigs of bits to view Netflix on your phone or on your big 55” TV in your living-room? Either way you pay for your 3 gigs of bits just the same. Who is Verizon to tell you what you can and cannot view or do with your bits that you honestly paid for with your hard earned cash?

Okay, lets get some comparisons going to help put things into perspective. Lets take a look at that old service called Cable. Remember that? I got rid of that years and years ago. Anyways, when a person purchased cable they got a box placed on their TV by some fat stinky guy who always seemed to have a full moon showing. That box was meant just for that TV right? But next thing you know the cable was routed into the bedrooms and maybe even the kitchen. Just a few years back an item called Slingbox came out. A person can now watch their paid for Cable service from anywhere they have an internet connection. They pay for it but is it ethical? Whether it is or is not, people have been doing that for years. And the big companies are catching on by adjusting their business models to support these habits. Take HBO for example. If you get Cable service with an HBO package, then HBO gives you this great little app called HBOtoGo which allows you to use that fabulous streaming cell phone to watch all your great shows on the go even though your service is to your home. HBO believes it is ethical why don’t you?

Lets make it even easier to decide. You pay for water. You pay for the amount of water you use. But what if the water company decided to act like Verizon? Like internet bits to your phone, you pay for water to your kitchen faucet. But one day you get this wild idea that you would not like to stink anymore. So handy as you are, you crack into the water line and route it your newly installed shower. You do not see any problem with this as you are paying as you use for water so it is an ethically and moral act to an honest person. But then the water company finds out about the shower. You had no idea that repair man was going to tell on you. Now the water company, Communist Water, threatens to cut off all your service unless you want to pay them double for the exact same water just because you are using it in a different way than they like. Communist Water doesn’t like it since they cannot figure out how to make money off this shower short of using scare tactics and threats. Communist Water knowns that if it works hard enough to make normally honest people feel like they are stealing then Communist Water can control them and make even more money. The first thing they do is write policy. Sound familiar?

Who is Verizon to say what you can and cannot do with the bits you honestly pay for? Communist China limits what its people can do and see with their bits they honestly pay for. Does that make Verizon communist like? I believe so. Communist Verizon says that you must use their Tethering or Hotspot app and they are going to double charge you for it. What if they did the same thing with say Netflix. You no longer can view Netflix, but instead must pay Communist Verizon extra money to use its crappier video streaming service. What if they did that to newspapers or anything else?

People let Verizon get away with this. Tethering is not they only thing Verizon abuses. Have you ever looked at text messaging charges, voicemail abuse, cell tower dominance or even the fact that there is no sim-card access? Excluding Canada, about every other country around the world has better deals that let the customer easily decide which device they use simply by moving sim-cards around. Communist Verizon takes that freedom away also.

So really it is up to you to decide what is ethical or not. You are armed with new information to help you in your decision process. And maybe if enough people speak out it will force Communist Verizon to change its ways for the freedom of the customer instead of the all might dollar for Verizon.

by: kraisydave
kraisydave on youtube and twitter