Recently, I've been fighting my isp regarding them locking down some advanced configs on the dsl router that they sold me. After some researching, I discovered that they removed the console port from the router's board. I re-soldered that connector and now have access to the console cli.

I fully realize that I voided the warranty of the router and that per my isp's TOS they won't offer tech support for me anymore. Their tech support sucks anyways, now that they've outsourced most of it to untrained techs in another country which I won't mention.

Now, I'd like to post this information for others who may have the same problem. I'm afraid that my isp will cancel my account claiming that I violated their TOS or AUP though. So my question is a legal one. Can I legally mod hardware that belongs to me, and freely share that information?

Posted on 2003-09-08 11:11:06 by Will
I assume that the worst you can suffer is a termination of your warranty, unless there is a specific non-disclosure agreement that you signed when you bought the equipment (usually a shrink wrap "by using this product..." agreement). If there was a non-disclosure agreement you can be held liable for damages i.e. lost technical support revenue if you post the information. But the ISP is within it's rights to cancel your account if it has found that you modified the equipment in any way, this is to protect the network whether real or as matter of convenience. I had a similar problem with my DSL modem, but my ISP was very nice about it. I had lost the NVR settings and had to bring it in to be reset, while the tech had it I talked a bit to the supervisor and they gave me the software and manual to do it myself in order to avoid a fee next time.

When I signed up for my account I specifically asked if all of the techs I was likely to speak with were in Canada and they are, a growing movement here is to cancel your account if they outsource the technical support so many ISP's have stopped that. I just prefer to speak with someone who is actually in the same time-zone as the equipment that is giving me the problem. I geuss I could have saved a couple of bucks a month and went with one of the other companies but when I listen to their stories of tech-support hell I am glad I went all-Canadian.
Posted on 2003-09-08 11:26:20 by donkey
Their TOS and AUP do not mention moding the hardware, as it technically belongs to me. I've been in contact with an exec at the corporate headquarters, trying to escalate my request for the password to enter an advanced config page on the bui. He told me that the router didn't have that functionality and that the password didn't exist. After telling him that one of the managers at one of their tech support offices told me that he was forbidden by the company to disclose the password, he recanted and told me that the company would not disclose that information to me because their tech support staff weren't trained to handle advanced requests, and basically he told me that their customers are idiots and will jack things up and then call tech support.

Through the console, I've found that password, but I'm just kicked back to the main config page of the bui. Their is no bui interface for nat. That guy told me that I could switch the router into bridge mode and purchase another router. The fact is that they sell routers, and thus do not want me to be able to use the modem as a router. The issue of untrained tech support is bulls**t. Their TOS clearly states that they only offer tech support for a single computer directly connected to the dsl equipment which they provided. I didn't see anything specifically mentioning mod'ing the hardware, but only a complete moron would solder something on their router, muck it up, and then whine to their isp asking for help.

I'm completely disgusted with this isp. The original manufacturer of the router doesn't respond to emails or voicemails. The cli reference on their website is incomplete. The firmware is incomplete in that it doesn't provide help for all of the valid commands. I enabled the telnet interface using a command that worked, but wasn't documented in the cli ref., and when typing 'help' at the appropriate prompt, it didn't tell me that it was a valid command.

I had to resort to soldering a connector onto the router's board in order to gain access to the functionality of the damned router which belongs to me. I don't see how that would be illegal at all. I was just checking.

Donkey, do you think that they would try to hold me liable for tech support calls stemming from me releasing a tutorial on what I did?? Is that even possible?

Posted on 2003-09-08 12:59:25 by Will

The issue of untrained tech support is bulls**t.

sadly, it is not. I bet you 99% of "tech support" is barely more capable than the customer on the other line.

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys :(

since you're an american, modding this device may count as the circonvention of a protection scheme and hence may cause you to be in violation of the DMCA.
Posted on 2003-09-08 13:08:12 by Hiroshimator

Donkey, do you think that they would try to hold me liable for tech support calls stemming from me releasing a tutorial on what I did?? Is that even possible?

No, I don't think they will. But they could if it can be demonstrated that they have suffered a material loss from your posting of the information. Say I have a peice of hardware and I give free technical support, I specifically forbid owners from disclosing information about modifying that hardware. Then some guy posts a how-to about modifying it. Well, if there is a problem either a mistake in the how-to or incorrectly done modifications, my tech support costs might rise astronomically. Who is responsible for that ? The answer is the guy who posted the modifications is legally responsible for material damages incurred by his violation of the agreement.
Posted on 2003-09-08 13:13:41 by donkey
I remember time a go a post on how to change the color of the lazer in the mouse, and some time after it was closed, i dunno why, in fact the person that was watching that was a friened, and some day say me that that article was closed..... :confused:
Posted on 2003-09-08 13:20:09 by rea
There was no disclosure when I opened the equipment.

As for my comment about the tech support issue being bulls**t.... What I meant was that their tech support is already trained to say 'I don't know' and 'that isn't supported'. If there's one thing they know how to say and type, it's "I don't know". They are highly trained in that regard.

I sent another email to that guy in their corp. hq, telling him that I was planning on posting that info. I told him that I didn't think that I'd be violating their TOS, but I wanted assurance that there would be no retaliation (such as cancelling my account) if I posted it. I plan on being very detailed, with a steadfast disclaimer, links to purchase a new router if anything's mucked up (I found a distributor that will sell them for $95), pinouts of the console cable, directions to email me with questions, directions not to call the isp, etc, etc.

I'm not doing this to f**k them over. I'm doing this to help other people in the same boat. I plan on making myself available to assist with any questions. Anyone capable of soldering that connector back on, and making the configs himself, doesn't seem very likely to want to waste his time calling their lame tech support anyways. Maybe I'll just put a support bb up.

What if I put up a disclaimer that would have to be okay'd to get through? Would that be enough to ward off any potential legal problems?

Posted on 2003-09-08 13:56:31 by Will

What if I put up a disclaimer that would have to be okay'd to get through? Would that be enough to ward off any potential legal problems?

I don't think there will be any but I am not a lawyer, I haven't sunk that low yet :). This is a legal issue and programmers are not lawyers. I think that if the TOS doesn't expressly forbid it you are on safe ground with ot without permission. They do still have the right to cancel your account for network security concerns howeer.
Posted on 2003-09-08 14:27:05 by donkey
You're absolutely right donkey! :) I guess I was venting a bit, but it wasn't aimed at you or anyone else here. I can't expect anyone here to have a concrete answer to a legal question.

thanks everyone,
Posted on 2003-09-08 15:10:59 by Will
Would you let someone rule you inside your AUTOMOBILE


Who you going to call when it breaks down the Goose Buster or will you use your VIC-GRIPS and force it back in shape.. IS THERE A SET OF RULES for dummy or do you want to make it work so that weeeee can get HOME.

JUST a few hour ago i got a call at less the owner of the shop i share got a call from a phone marketeer. But this one was all recording and maybe a special un-known device used..

So i hang up the phone... wait 15 seconds and pick it back up to MAKE A CALL. Guest what... the recoding was still going.... No need to tell you how many times i hung up... disconnected, PULL wires re-connected and they were STILL there..... IMPOSSIBLE...

Well at lease they don't charge me $450.00 per month for 2900 min of local phone service as SBC did.

This Third party phone co. only charge my ususal back in the day under $65.00 for 2900 min. ... LOCAL

But now i see...or was it my imagination... I PULL ALL KIND OF PLUGS...

So this THIRD PARTY sold out and maybe crawl thought my machine long before i get to the internet... So what... It takes a fool to put my s**t together and i got 4 crashed hard drives to prove i was first with all copyrights since 1999. Im sure all the crash date can be pulled by any JUDGE order in any court.


Well at lease i see things NOW and don't have to blame anyone else as i suff.... I am Soo see the real trade off that many will never stumble on top of. UNLESSS they get lucky and THINK .... as i may have just done all in a DAY ...

I say... You paid for it... It is your CAR... STRIP IT DOWN to your likings...

Sure they got the right to do denie service to you.... but WHY TELL THEM... Evidently there s**t is not strong enough for you.

If it's all about security on the web for you and your ASM files Especially ...GO FOR IT.... dame them fools and if they don't like it find someone BETTER. You are the payer not the beggar. F**K THEM.

All they got legal on any DAME THING is that you pay a bill or not. And If not go to the competition which MEANS and they go Out of business eventually.

UTILITY cannot mis-treat the people no matter how much we need them... New names is all it is... I'll Camp OUT with the Chicago Bears first before i kiss there assies......


Posted on 2003-09-08 23:42:43 by cmax
cmax, the power has always been with the people - I'm with you man.
The legitimate power of government is limited by the same bounds which limit the legitimate power of the individual. You cannot derive power from a source which does not possess it.
Posted on 2003-09-09 00:21:44 by bitRAKE
The ultimate and only rule of business, you can go to university for years and work your whole life to learn this is the only rule that really exists:
Power follows the check
Posted on 2003-09-09 00:25:37 by donkey

Power follows the check
Really? Is that what the people in that power outage experienced? Wonder where their checks went, or why it meant any less than mine? So, it must not be theirs, yours, or my check your speaking of. :grin:
Posted on 2003-09-09 00:31:41 by bitRAKE