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Let's say an internet provider (ex: Comcast, At&t, Verizon) says to their users: Hey we have this new free internet access, however, by using it the end ad content will be changed to our liking -for example they can change Ad Units to show their ads or inject ads into content.

What are the legal repercussions here? If the end user's agree, can sites that serve ads (ex: Google Adsense) sue you for replacing their content?

Also wondering about any other issues that can arise from such action.

  • Wouldn't the answer depend upon the contractual relationship between the ad servers and the ISP? What ISP would agree to serve ONLY the ads provided by a single source? – Upnorth Sep 6 '17 at 6:01
  • @Upnorth There is no agreement between ad servers and ISPs. Not that I head of. I am referring to ISP that REPLACES or modifies ad content from ad servers. If you remember geocities, they had a similar place ad on top of every hosting account they provided for free. This takes it a step further and modifies the actual ad content that the website owner has (which again no contract between ISP/Ad Server or ISP/Website owners). – Aziz Saleh Sep 6 '17 at 13:07
  • This is probably a bit off topic, but good luck replacing/injecting advertising in HTTPS traffic. – airfishey Sep 8 '17 at 18:28
  • @airfishey True it would be hard if the man in the middle isn't the ISP, but since the ISP is acting as a proxy it can be easily done. I guess that then raises security issues since the ISP is able to see the pages opposed to traditional ISP only being able to see the URLs submitted. – Aziz Saleh Sep 8 '17 at 21:35
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Lots of legal problems.

I'm going to assume US jurisdiction. I am not a lawyer; this is not legal advice.

For starters, the ISP is almost certainly removing itself from DMCA safe harbors, which could open it up to liability for copyright infringement.

There also may be other legal issues, including tortious interference (on the theory that the ISP has interfered with various ToS agreements that it knew existed).

There's probably no CFAA claim, astonishingly.

I suspect there's more. I'm sure that the EU has different (and probably stricter) rules to deal with this.

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