Where can I get free Wi-Fi?

Episode 1096

Dave from Riverside, CA

Dave says that Riverside is ending their free Wi-Fi service tomorrow after complaints that some people couldn't use it. AT&T, who set it up, pulled out a few years ago and Riverside may have decided it was too costly to operate on their own. Leo says that's a shame because Riverside was one of the first communities to give it a try. It's not likely that more communities will be able to join in, as most ISPs have lobbied legislatures to outlaw free Wi-Fi service so ISPs can charge more.

Is unlimited really unlimited on Verizon?

Episode 1090

Johnny from Fontana, CA

Johnny is being offered unlimited internet through Verizon. Leo says that unlimited is never really unlimited. They'll throttle him and slow him down after a few gigs. So he should pay attention to that. He currently has 3GBs through AT&T. Leo says it's hard to get past that unless he's streaming video. And if he has Wi-Fi, it's even harder. So check that the phone he is getting is going to have a hotspot capability, which most do natively. But he'll have to pay extra for it.

Woman Tries to Hide Pregnancy from "Big Data"

Episode 1080

After the story about Target discovering a woman was pregnant and made the information public, a college professor decided to try and hide her pregnancy from "big data" to keep it private. She did everything she could to be private, including routing her online traffic through Tor (an anonymity network), using an alternate Amazon account, and having items shipped to an alternate location. She also quit using Google in favor of the Duck Duck Go.

Why is Earthlink still down?

Episode 1074

Mary from Los Angeles, CA

Mary has Earthlink and for the last three days, they've been down in L.A. Leo says that's terrible! She wants to know if they've been bit by heartbleed. Leo says it's probably more serious than that. Heartbleed can be fixed with a simple server upgrade, but this sounds like a cascading failure where fixing one thing impacts more things. Leo thinks it's time to get a new ISP. DSLExtreme is good. Leo advises asking them to move Mary and request an estimate of how long it will take, because it could take several days or even weeks to make that switch.

Is there any way for me to get my old email data back after my ISP disconnected service?

Episode 966

Brad from New Jersey

Brad has been getting slammed with spam and the bill for his ISP got lost in the pile of junk. So his service has been disconnected and his email account scrubbed. Leo says that there's no legal requirement to keep personal data, so it's likely they just deleted everything and moved on. It could be worth pursuing though. They may have a backup somewhere and if he's willing to pay up his bill, it may not have been long enough for them to completely wipe his data.

Six Strikes Anti Piracy Policy Now in Place

Episode 956

The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is being instituted by ISPs this week, which will create a "six strikes" protocol that will enable ISPs to blacklist you and cause your internet service to be degraded and potentially banned for life. Those who run afoul of CAS will also be required to complete an online copyright prevention class.

Leo says the worst part is that there's no conviction because it isn't a law. This means there's no due process, and that's a crime.