Juno's controversial plan to rent space on your PC
February 6, 2001 1:00 AM   Subscribe

Juno's controversial plan to rent space on your PC -- In exchange for free ISP access, Juno customers will be required to keep their computers on at all times so Juno can sell unused time and space on its customers' hard drives.
posted by shauna (17 comments total)
Hmmm. I'm torn on this one. My heart says this is asking way too much of most users, both in terms of privacy violation and the sheer feeling of being fleeced by having to give up HD space, electricity and phone usage. But my mind says, "Sheeple, sheeple, sheeple! Baaah! As long as it's still free, right? Baaaaah!"

(No pun was intended on the fleece/sheep thing.)
posted by aaron at 1:28 AM on February 6, 2001

Well there would go what little privacy there is on the internet as it is. Its prospects seem to me somewhat alarming, for all it takes is for one person to process some illegal material, and *foom* hundreds of other users also have such material on their systems. Private? No. Safe No.
Expensive? Yes.

Then the question is ISP bills vs Electricity Bills, anyhow are free (although slower) Internet connections out there. If my ISP asked me that they wanted to use my disk space and my cpu for some other persons means i'dd disconnect and find another ISP.
posted by Frieza at 1:35 AM on February 6, 2001

What kills me is that this is on top of the egregious amount of ads you're expected to put up with. Kudos to them for trying to get around charging (though they aren't really), but I think the service is just about dead.
posted by frykitty at 1:53 AM on February 6, 2001

They're offering to exchange the use of their computing hardware and software for the use of your computing hardware and software. A fair trade. If you don't want to trade, they are willing to instead sell you time on their computing hardware and software.

If your ISP offered this service option, it would not significantly (if at all) reduce your privacy:

1. You would not have to participate. You could instead choose to pay for the service they offer. Or you could find another ISP.

2. If your ISP did not offer this service option, it would still be able to do all of the same things that might reveal your secret alien identity to the world. At least this way, you would know they are really inside your computer.

3. To accept advertisement is to invite corporations to intrude upon your soul. Would you rather sell your soul or lend your PC hardware?

4. You have no privacy anyway. They know who you are and they're coming to get you. Get over it.
posted by pracowity at 2:29 AM on February 6, 2001

They know who you are and they're coming to get you. Get over it.

Fast as fast can be, they'll never catch meeeee!!
ahem. err, sorry...
posted by lizardboy at 3:15 AM on February 6, 2001

Paranoia will destroy ya
posted by Mick at 4:57 AM on February 6, 2001

Increase the peace
posted by pnevares at 5:10 AM on February 6, 2001

Say a telephone line costs US$30 a month + whatever electricity usage for the computer being on a month +
wear and tear on your hard drive.

They should pay you.
posted by stewjack at 5:51 AM on February 6, 2001

> They should pay you.

The sort of people who will choose this option are people who have "always-on" Internet access through their cable system. They do not use a part-time telephone connection; their computers are already, regardless of any deal with Juno, always turned on, always using electricity, and always connected to the Internet.

They have such fast connections through their TV cable line that there would be no noticeable connection delay. Also, there would be no noticeable "wear and tear on your hard drive" because most of the action happens in RAM and the CPU, which have no moving parts and do not wear out with extra processing.

Yes, besides all that, Juno could pay you for the use of your home computer if it were worth something. But the amount it is worth per computer is very small, about the value of, say, free e-mail for a month. So they offer to trade you for it.
posted by pracowity at 6:43 AM on February 6, 2001

I think this is intended for Dial-Up, Pracowity. Your computer needs to be on all the time, not your internet connection.
I'm also kind of confused....how does this concern privacy?
posted by Doug at 7:00 AM on February 6, 2001

pracowity, why would someone who had a cable modem need Juno at all? I thought the cable company was your ISP and that was all you need (said the DSL subscriber who didn't even examine cable as an option)...?
posted by m.polo at 7:45 AM on February 6, 2001

Doug's right. If this works like SETI@home, the data crunched by your computer gets uploaded the next time you connect. If a continuous connection were required, it would defeat Juno's purpose. I don't see any major privacy problem here either.
posted by gimli at 8:02 AM on February 6, 2001

> how does this concern privacy?

I have no idea. That's really why I commented on this in the first place. Some people making earlier comments expressed their fear of losing privacy and I was saying that there's no particular reason to worry about it with this Juno service.

As for why any cable user would want to use it, I was just guessing that someone who isn't always connected, someone who connects just every once in a while, would not make a very good participant in something that requires everyone to calculate some portion of a problem and report back to a program that combines all the separate calculations from users and delivers the results to someone presumably waiting for an answer. But I suppose they could send out redundant blocks of calculations and so on to ensure that they get complete, fast results.

posted by pracowity at 8:24 AM on February 6, 2001

Gimli: it states in the article that the user's computer must remain on at all times. As far as I know, Juno users are mostly dial-up (but I could be wrong).

Privacy concerns or not, there is a big "yuck factor" to this plan. The few Juno users I know are dropping them fast.
posted by frykitty at 8:42 AM on February 6, 2001

This seems just like SETI which I run on my PC. The SETI programn downloads blocks of data to crunch. It only crunches when my machine is on and when the SETI screen save is running. The program can be set to run all the time or only with the screen saver. When the program completes crunching it signals its ready to upload the crunched data and to receive new data to crunch. The screen saver is pretty at any rate.

All the crunching has made me famished.
posted by john445 at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2001

The computer stays on, but the internet connection does not have to be maintained continuously.
posted by gimli at 9:19 AM on February 6, 2001

"This seems just like SETI which I run on my PC."

Except that you know what the SETI program is processing, you're not forced to run it if you want to keep your ISP, and you're allowed to turn your computer off.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:47 PM on February 6, 2001

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