People are always looking for ways to avoid internet fees and charges, and avoiding these charges and fees may have cost a man his freedom. An Oregon man helped thousands of internet users avoid internet charges at home by hacking cable modems

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Internet service providers are increasingly looking for ways to charge customers more money for faster speeds and access to more data.

For years, hackers have looked for ways to get around such restrictions and get faster Internet service for free. This, of course, is illegal. And now, an Oregon man will spend three years in prison for helping thousands of people do it.

Ryan Harris, 29, was sentenced this week by a federal judge in Boston for selling tools that allow people to modify cable modems so they would appear to be paying subscribers and to remove filters that control Internet speed and content.

From 2003 to 2009, Harris earned between $400,000 to $1 million in revenue as the owner of a company called TCNISO, authorities said. Harris, who was known online as “DerEngel,” also offered support through an online forum “to assist customers in their cable modem hacking activities,” authorities said.

He even wrote a how-to book under his screenname called “Hacking the Cable Modem: What Cable Companies Don’t Want You to Know.”

From the beginning, Harris said that what he did was perfectly legal and that he should not be responsible for how his customers used his product.

“It’s like arresting every firearms dealer because handguns can be used to commit murder,” Harris told Wired after his arrest in 2009.