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The Billion-Dollar Issue of Interactive Computer Services Versus Internet Content Provider

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Special Notice: To any service company that is a victim, loss of business and revenue due to false advertising by an Interactive Computer Service (ICS), AKA the search engines. If a third party did not provide the information they display, they now become the Information Content Provider (ICP) and they lose immunity provided by Section 230. They should be prosecuted to the full extent under the law.

Definitions And Solutions
An Interactive Computer Service (ICS) is defined as “any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.” Gordon v. Virtumundo, Inc., 575 F.3d 1040 (9th Cir. Wash. 2009)

The term Information Content Provider (ICP) means “any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.” (47 USCS § 230)

The New Category
The new correct term Interactive Content Provider is both an Interactive Computer Service (ICS) and Information Content Provider (ICP).  This means they are providing both functions. Some are search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Angie’s List, Yellowbook, Ziplocal and SuperPages or one of 160 others that are a dual-purpose entity under the above definitions. They say they are only an Interactive Computer Service (ICS) so they can claim immunity behind U. S. Code Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act.  Unfortunately they have crossed the line by doing both, they provide information they originate making them also an Information Content Provider (ICP).

We Can Prove They Are The Same:
The case of Interactive Computer Services (ICS) disseminating false information comes down to a several critical issues. It seems the difference between an Interactive Computer Services (ICS) and an Internet Content Provider (ICP)remain two distinct entities in the eyes of the law. This needs to be analyzed correctly. Unfortunately the lines of distinction have become blurred. In fact an Interactive Computer Services (ICS)and an Internet Content Provider (ICP)have become one in the same accomplished by their own actions. We can prove this in court, with a jury trial, using witnesses, testimony, interrogatories, depositions and factual information stated under oath. Give us a chance in court to prove so!

The Four Tests:
Was the information purchased?
The Interactive Computer Services (ICS) procures the information which they purchased and inserted it themselves. It may be in the form of a listing, a directory or a map point. This transaction makes them the Internet Content Provider (ICP) as the information is under their control.

Was The Information Scraped?
Did the Interactive Computer Services (ICS) display, scrape, copy or plagiarize information from another web site without acknowledgement of the Information Content Provider (ICP)?
If yes, then they are guilty of being both an Interactive Computer Services (ICS) and Internet Content Provider (ICP). Maybe somewhere a third party originated the information but it never would have appeared unless actions taken by the Interactive Computer Services (ICS). At that point the definition and purpose of the search engine becomes dual, protection, and immunity is gone.

Do They Have A Public Portal?  
Is the damaging information placed via a public access portal? If not where did it come from?
Is the information presented in the form of directory or a map point without the source known?
If there is no public access portal to enter information the Interactive Computer Services (ICS) is also the Internet Content Provider (ICP). They are responsible for the content under current laws.

Can A Legal Servable Address Be Produced?
A legal servable address must be provided so one can bring legal action to bear to the true perpetrators of damaging information. If the Interactive Computer Services (ICS)cannot provide a legal address for the violating party(s) presenting false or damaging information it must assumed it is the their own material.
If it takes a court ordered subpoena to produce such an address then so be it.  They must produce the provider information, in the form of a legal servable address, which is more than an email address or their word can provide, in order to be immune Under 230. If contributing third party cannot be properly identified presenting the damaging information, the Interactive Computer Services (ICS) face consequences under the Lanham Act, and removal is mandatory, as it must be assumed they themselves are the source.

In Conclusion:
We believe Interactive Computer Services (ICS) in question have morphed also into Internet Content Provider (ICP). The courts to date, in spite of known false information presented, hold the Interactive Computer Services (ICS)immune from prosecution under Section 230. The courts so far, believe without proof, deem the information was sourced from a third party or Internet Content Provider (ICP) so they hold them non-responsible for the postings. That is unfortunate for those who suffer damage from the false information, as they are unable to prosecute under the Lanham Act.
But at what point do they cross the line and become both? We at Baldino’s Lock & Key and the Locksmith industry believe they have become one in the same. How, we apply simple proof and logic. Let us go to court with a jury, submit proof that in fact they are both, get a judgment, and stop this outrageous charade.
It is time the law the court system, congress, the search engines (ICS) and the public all recognize the fraud that they are allowing to occur and put an end to this practice.

Mark Baldino
Baldino’s Lock Key Inc.


Baldino's & ALOA

Monday, March 16, 2015
Mark Baldino has worked closely with the group ALOA, Associated Locksmiths of America, on the nationwide "locksmith scammer" problem for years. Google Maps has been Mark's #1 target, and he has successfully helped clean up each map in the D.C, Maryland, and Virginia area. Now, when you Google 'locksmith, alexandria va' you will not find thousands of imitation locksmiths. Although some still exist, the problem was noticed and slowly (in his area being) taken care of. 

In an e-mail, President of ALOA, Thomas Demont said "ALOA has worked on the issue of locksmith scams for almost ten (10) years now. The story is familiar in many states: an out-of-state company hires a number of unscrupulous individuals in the area to sub-contract its work using assumed business names, fake addresses and phone numbers. Each time consumers have been over-charged, under serviced, and just plain lied to! This is not the only problem with scammers in the security industry, just one example." 

So what can you do? Research a locksmith to have on hand if you are in a bind. Have their name and phone number programed in your phone already! A great starting place is to visit  - there you can look up locksmiths in your area. 

Also check this video out!

Family Owned Locksmith Sues Google and Major Online Directories

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Google, Yellowbook, and Ziplocal, are being sued for violating U.S. and state laws, specifically, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, and the Lanham Act.  Plaintiff, Baldino’s Lock and Key Service, Inc., a family-owned and operated locksmith business serving the Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, area since 1961, has filed a lawsuit against Google, Yellowbook, and Ziplocal,  to remove fraudulent locksmith listings from their search results. “My company has seen an $8.4 million decrease in revenue since search engines emerged as the go-to for consumer research,” says Mark Baldino, President and CEO of Baldino’s Lock and Key. “The presence of false online search results is devastating not only to my business, but consumers and companies nationwide.”

  • The Defendants deliberately mislead consumers by publishing false information with prior knowledge that the information is deceptive.
  • They saturate requests for information with false listings to inflate the cost of advertising for legitimate businesses.
  • They cause direct monetary damages to businesses and consumers that depend on search engines for factual information.
  • They fail to screen out listings placed by criminal enterprises before publishing the listings online.
  • Search engines and directories proactively clutter search results with false listings, forcing legitimate companies to pay a premium for Search Engine Optimization and priority placement benefiting them.
  • Fraudulent listings numbering at times in excess of a thousand in the area serviced by Baldino’s make it nearly impossible for honest companies to be found near the top of search results or on the map locations.
  • Just one false listing can cost a legitimate business thousands of dollars.
Web-based search engines are creating a condition to profiteer: to make or seek to make an excessive or unfair profit, especially illegally or in a black market or racketeering activity. The most startling fact is that every citizen that uses a search engine is at risk of becoming a victim to these online scams.

Not one Internet search engine can claim their search results or directories are not seeded with many phony listings. Google and the other search engines knowingly present these fraudulent listings to consumers making them appear as valid companies in order to create fictional online business competition. This deceptive behavior costs the service businesses billions of dollars in lost market share nationwide as the odds of them being selected is greatly reduced. In order to compensate they must pay the search engines for favorable placement just to be seen. As intended, this practice gains revenue for the search engines. All non-factual listings must be removed and damages should be paid to those businesses that have been victimized. In the future, all listings must go through stringent verification procedures before being published. We need only the truth on the Internet.

This deceptive behavior also misleads the consumer into selecting an unqualified locksmith who many times charges more money than originally promised. And how is the consumer hurt? Imagine you locked yourself out of your car on a rainy night. Luckily, you have your cell phone. You run a Google search for “locksmith nearby.” Plenty of listings, map locations show up, but most are illegitimate companies. The majority of business names are fictional; the address listed is false, but unfortunately the phone number works.  The hoax is complete when the search engines present them as real entities. Online locksmith scammers advertise business addresses that don’t exist and prey on innocent consumers desperate to be rescued in a moment of need. Furthermore, scammers often misquote over the phone, raise job prices upon arrival, and are unqualified to perform the job. Would you trust an unverified locksmith to rescue you alone on a dark rainy night? This behavior isn’t just true for scammer locksmiths alone; it impacts all goods and services advertised on the Internet. Every business advertised in an online directory must be legally verified to protect the consumer.

Can the public, the media, and the justice system expose, enforce and correct this problem? Should Google, other search engines, and online directories be allowed to continue with this practice?

Read More:

      Contact: Mark Baldino   
      Office 703-550-0770 ex 3670     
      Cell 703-906-3154   

High Security is Right for Everyone

Thursday, October 2, 2014
A few days ago Baldino's Lock and Key posted a Facebook article from Today warning against new technology and how we suggest high security locks. What is the difference you may ask though? Between regular locks and high security locks.

The main goal of a high security lock is to keep something you have safe. No lock is indestructible, but compared to a regular lock system high security locks are a lot more difficult to beat. If somebody wants to get in it will be very time consuming making it more likely the thief will get caught.

The key way (where you insert the key) and how the key grooves are made is visibly different on both keys. The construction of the high security lock makes it harder for tools to maneuver inside ... thus making it more difficult to pick.

High security locks are also made from strong materials making them resistant to tools like screw drivers, and steel rods.

These special keys also require permission to be duplicated. You must have a card to show before a locksmith can make a copy. This helps prevent keys floating around and getting into the wrong hands.

Check out our YouTube channel for other high security locksmith soulutions!

 As well as the Today article we posted! CLICK HERE

Reports We Love!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
In our last blog we talked about electronic locks that connect to your smart phone, but expressed some people had concerns about phones being hacked. Since then, we read a report that we loved comparing Electronic, Electronic Connected, and Standard Locks. So, if you aren't sure about taking the next step in tech when it comes to your homes safety check this article out.

Here is the review section of the article:
Electronic connected. The Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt smart lock, $200, easily withstood our simulated kick-in test, which is why it made our recommended list, though a cordless drill disabled it in less than 2 minutes. The keyless Yale YRD240 smart lock, $275, was difficult to drill because it lacks a key cylinder, but it was easy prey to kick-in. Once we replaced its cheap strike plate with a better one (about $10 at home centers and hardware stores), the Yale aced our kick-in test, as did others in this group. But we think a lock should be secure as sold.

Electronic. These locks can’t be controlled via an app. All work using a keypad or a key, and one opens by fingerprint, passcode, or key. But none could beat a drill, and one, the Schlage BE365 V CAM 619, $130, was the easiest to pick of all of the electronic locks. But that model was also among the toughest against kick-in, which raised it to the top of its category.

Standard. The rekeyable Kwikset 980, $30, Baldwin Prestige 380, $40, and Falcon D241, $55, did best in our tests of standard locks. All come with a sturdy strike plate and resisted all of our assaults except for drilling.

Best from our tests. But your best bet for the most protection is the key-equipped Medeco Maxum 11*603, $190. The high-security lock aced our best efforts to crack it. Of course, even the least expensive dead bolt is an improvement over the traditional key-in-knob variety.

Locksmith Terminology Defined:

Strike Plate - a metal plate affixed to a door jamb with a hole or holes for the bolt of the door. When the door is closed, the bolt extends into the hole in the strike plate and holds the door closed.


 High Security Lock - a cylinder which offers a greater degree of resistance to any or all of the following: picking, bumping, impressioning, key duplication, drilling or other forms of forcible entry.

Smart Phone to Smart Home

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Home security monitoring is entreating a new era. The residential lock market is growing with technology and a new set of locks and access control systems are being introduced to the consumer.

Today everyone has a cell phone, and they aren't just phones for making calls ... they are smart phones. These phones are smart because they are used for everything from talking, mapping travel, shopping, car remotes, and face to face messaging. Now you can include key to that list.

At the center of it all is the traditional lock which grants us entry through a metal key. In our homes we have even upgraded to the push button or 'fob' to key into our homes and offices. Using your phones blue tooth, wifi, or an application as a handsfree way to enter, and the idea of the smart home is entering the mainstream.

Next time you have your handful with groceries wouldn't it be nice to just walk up ... have your lock recognize you and open? If you can't get home and a pet sitter needs to get in to let your pet out? No problem ... just send them a digital key with a time frame for them to use.

Smart home access control systems come in all forms and in different price ranges. Some require you upgrade your entire home and some you can actually put over your current deadbolt. took the time to compare 5 different smart locks on the market.

1) August Smart Lock
2) Lockitron - Keyless Entry with your Phone
3) Nexia Home Intelligence 
4) Goji Smart Lock
5) Kwikset Kevo

You can read the full article on on these locks here

With all phone applications there have been worries that your system can be hacked if your phone is lost or stolen. Some smart phone companies are taking precautions to keep your privacy safe. They also recommend you have a passcode lock on your phone.

Locksmiths Giving Back

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
A few months ago our Baldino's Lock and Key shop in Leesburg merged with Leesburg Locksmith. This was a great opportunity for us and it helped the community!

During the merge we were able to donate almost $15,000 worth of inventory to Habitat for Humanity. We are hoping our donation helps keep the families in their new homes locked up safely!

Habitat for Humanity is a non profit that thinks everyone should have a safe, affordable place to live. They have helped build or repair over 6000,000 houses and Baldino's Lock and Key was happy to be a part of helping the organization.

Baldino's Lock and Key is still located at 338 E Market Street in Leesburg. With the merger we just now have a bigger family to welcome you to our shop!

 If you would like to get involved you can check out their website here!

Yelp?! ... Help!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The idea of easily going online and finding out the best and worst about a place you might be doing business with seems great. However, along with everything else online this processes has proven to disappoint consumers and businesses alike.

While trying to get a grip on all of the false locksmith business listings, Baldino's Lock and Key noticed it was not correctly listed on Yelp. When we started to investigate we noticed multiple listings of addresses we were not located at along with ... what we thought ... were very "iffy" reviews.

When our marketing associate logged into her Yelp account and wrote Baldino's correct address/website on the listings with incorrect information Yelp suspended her account. When she explained she didn't write a review just added the right address so users wouldn't drive out of their way, Yelp then wrote that our business was "no longer in business". This was their solution instead of taking down the incorrect listing and adding the correct one. This only hurt Baldino's more when people thought we were no longer open.

Recently Yelp has been getting a lot of heat from consumers and business owners for fake reviews. The New York Attorney General even did a sting operation called "Operation Clean Turf". The sting lasted a year and caught 19 different companies writing fake reviews. Most of them were search engine optimization companies that were hired by small businesses (

In the Yelp Terms of Service it's stated that all users not violate guidelines by compensating someone or being compensated to write a review. Writing fake reviews is easy when you are writing them as an anonymous user.  One way to fix the problem of ALL fake reviews, listings, and businesses advertisements is for these search engine companies and review websites to actually take the time and verify who is a legitimate user. Click here for Yelp Terms of Service.

The point is...users beware. Don't trust reviews and ratings with out digging a bit deeper. You can following some of these tips from
  1. Don't rely solely on the overall star rating 
  2. Change the way reviews are sorted 
  3. Search for what you care about 
  4. Look at an individual reviewer's stats 
  5. Check out the filtered reviews
  6.  Write your own reviews

Safety Technology

Monday, November 11, 2013

School safety is always at the top of everyone's mind but recent events have only amplified concerns. If you work in the education industry, or have a child that is enrolled in school, we know you are aware of how essential it is to choose the right security package for that school. Door locks and hardware are the first step to ensuring the safety of students, and faculty.

There are many different options when it comes to choosing locks. One of the biggest is mechanical vs. electronic. ASSA ABLOY and Baldino's can help you find a set that will benefit each school and meet any industry security requirements.

Baldino's can go over each step and set you up with the perfect solution of ASSA ABLOY lock.

Step #1 – Clearly identify/ define expectations
Step #2 – Evaluate current policies and practices
Step #3 – Assess existing opening to ensure current security is fully functional
Step #4 – Prepare a plan to address security concerns

photo credit: ASSA ABLOY 
To find out more about school safety you can visit for a full brochure!

National Preparedness Month

Monday, September 30, 2013
September was National Preparedness Month and Baldino's Lock and Key participated by attending the Preparedness and Security Expo on September 5th, at McNamara Headquarter Complex. The expo included booths and vendors from over 30 organizations. 

Our managers Sean Kent and Jeff Waldo set up our booth with security brochures and an Arrow Revolution Touch Screen Display. They said there was such a great turn out and they were so busy talking to attendees they could only snap this one picture!

We wanted to thank everyone who put on this expo. In the wake of the tragic events that occurred at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C this month, it is imperative that as civilians we are prepared for any emergency. The website is a great resource for families to get information on how they can be prepared and practice emergency preparedness. 


How to Choose a Lock

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Choose a Lock

With so many different high-security products in the market, it can be difficult to choose the right lock system for your home or business. But your safety relies on it—so you have to be careful with your decision. How do you go about choosing the right lock from such a big selection? There are certain key factors to look at that can help you determine how to choose a lock—and we’ve outlined them for you!

Type of Door

The first thing you should consider is what type of door you have. If you have a solid door, you should choose a lock that can fit in it the way it is. If you have a flimsy door that could easily be kicked in, you may need to think about installing a new door or having alterations done. After all, a high-quality lock can only help so much when you don’t have a sturdy door (or window) to go with it.

Lock Grades

Once you’ve made a decision regarding your door, you can begin to compare different locks. Be sure to choose a lock with a Grade 1 classification. Why? Lock grades signify strength and durability—and according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which are upheld by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association Inc. (BHMA), a Grade 1 classification is used to identify the strongest and most durable products.

Key Control

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection based on lock grades, check for key control. What does that mean? Key control gives the homeowner (or business owner if you’re getting office locks) control over how many copies can be used to open your locks; only the key manufacturer itself or certain designated locksmiths can make duplicates. This means that your keys can’t be copied just anywhere, reducing your chance of burglary through replicated keys. Though key control can be expensive, it’s worth the extra cost to keep your building secure.

Lock Brands

Next you’ll want to look at lock brands. Make sure you purchase a lock from a well-known manufacturer with a reputation for producing highly secure products. Some brands to consider include Schlage, Kwikset, and Sargent. At the same time, avoid discount locks that come with low costs but tend to be less secure than their more expensive counterparts.

Of course, the locksmiths we can provide you with more specific recommendations and advice on how to choose a lock. While we typically suggest deadbolt locks for their advanced security capabilities, we can also provide you with ideas regarding other types of lock systems—and we can install them in conjunction with alarm systems or other electronic security solutions that will work together to protect your home.

Visit one of our 18 lock shops to see our product selection or contact us for help choosing and installing a lock in Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia.

The Lookout

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
A few weeks ago we shared a link on our Facebook page to a show called The Lookout. It's a show that airs on ABC giving consumers a guide to products and services; while offering them tips on how to get what they are paying for.

The episode we shared was close to our hearts because it showed the world what locksmith "scammers", as we call them in the locksmith industry, were doing to hurt our businesses and the community.

When you're locked out it is usually a panic situation. You need to get in, but you can't, and you need to quickly. That is why you should have a locksmith already programed in your phone for these type of emergency situations. Maybe go and visit them so you feel comfortable with the company.  

If you didn't get a chance to watch the episode here is a summary and some key points we wanted to get across -

At the beginning of the investigation a certified locksmith installed the most simplistic deadbolt lock on the market. They then had a women call posing to be locked out. The "locksmith" came and the first troubling thing he did was not ask for ID. A locksmith should always ask for your identification.

There were 2 locks on the door. The consumer stated she didn't know which was locked. Before figuring that out or even trying to pick the lock he immediately started drilling it. He drilled both locks open (breaking the drill in one). This not only ruined both the deadbolts, it left her with no way to lock the door that night and forced her to buy a new set. All of this was unnecessary and cost her a lot more than what the company originally quoted.

The BEST part - even the host of the show picked the lock (with a few verbal tips from the professional locksmith). There was no reason to ruin the lock by drilling.

Locksmith scammers are hurting real locksmith companies because they flood the yellow pages and internet with addresses and phone numbers. Most of the time with an address that isn't theirs (it ends up being another company). They falsify the whereabouts of their company because they want the consumer to think they are close by and will be able to get to their house or car fast. The phone numbers actually go to a call center in another state. These call centers take calls for many company names, which is why they answer "locksmith" and not "Baldino's Lock and Key" or whatever their company name is.

Locksmiths who pull these scams also hurt the community by using bait and switch tactics on their customers. Quoting one price, and then finding bogus reasons to charge a much higher one. They make consumers not trust locksmith companies.

Please be aware and verify you are using a local, licensed, and trustworthy locksmith when it comes time for your next lockout emergency.

One Stop Shop

Friday, May 31, 2013
If you have been in a Baldino's Lock and Key within the last couple of years (and we hope you have) then you've probably noticed some of our locations sell ink jet and toner cartridges as well. Odd? Maybe... but, just like Al Baldino thought all of those years back, Mark Baldino, his son saw something everyone needed and made it so!

While ink and locksmithing don't necessarily go hand in hand both are here to help our customers. While Baldino's help protects your families, belongings, and homes Rapid Refill helps you save money AND the environment.  Rapid Refill sells recycled ink cartridges. We have all the most popular brands and you can save up to 30%. There is no reason to buy new cartridges every time yours runs out. Recycling saves on plastic making sure the environment doesn't get littered. 

So, next time you walk into a Baldino's or Rapid Refill don't be confused! We are your one stop shop for ink, toner, and locks!!

Locksmithing and Social Media

Monday, March 11, 2013
In recent years Baldino's Lock and Key has embraced a new kind of marketing and advertising - social media. With Yellowpage usage dwindling, consumers have flocked to the internet in search for local locksmiths. Unfortunately, as we have written about in the past, the search can be tedious due to the overwhelming amount of scam advertisements. Thankfully, social media can help you become more visible AND help the locksmith consumer feel your company is the right choice. 

At Baldino's we use a few social media strategies to get by ...

  • A blog (yes, this one!)
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • A Facebook page
  • A Twitter feed
  • Customer Reviews
  • Google +
  • Youtube Channel
All of these together legitimize our company as real, there, and available to help. We have all of our information including hours, locations, walk in shop address, phone numbers, and parking information. Our webpage is informative, easy to navigate, and links to all of our other social media pages. 

We try to update our content so the online community can see we are still around and want to keep them in the loop. We add new pictures of trade shows we attend, jobs we do, and all of our locations. Seeing new pictures and updated content also helps the search engines to notice your website is still relevant. Also ask your customers really know what you do? Most locksmiths don't just provide lockout service! At Baldino's we provide lockout service, key duplication, high security lock options, safe sales, security alarm sales, the list goes on!

Keeping Your Family Safe: The Gun Debate Rages On

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
After the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary and the infamous Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting the topic of gun control is in full blown debate mode. We don't want to get in the middle but we do feel this is a good time to remind people....if you do keeps guns in your house, there are ways to keep them there safely.

Here are some statistics from the DHSH:

Firearm Ownership

  • 40% of American households have guns
  • 4% of children in American homes live in homes with at least one firearm

Storage Practices 
  • 28% do not always keep guns locked in a secure place
  • 25% only “occasionally” lock and store the bullets separate from the
  • 48% do not regularly make sure that guns are equipped with child
    safety and trigger locks
  • In 30% of hand gun owning homes, the gun was stored unlocked and
    loaded at the time of the survey 
  • In 72% of unintentional deaths and injuries, suicide and suicide attempts, the
    firearm was stored in the residence of the victim
  • 47% of high school kids and 22% of middle school kids said they could get a
  •  6% of high school kids said they had carried a gun to school within the last 30
  • 72% of parents think their kids would not handle a gun without their
 There are many different sizes, types, and brands of gun safes in different price ranges. The best way to find a safe that will work best for your household is to come in and speak with one of our safe specialists and see the safe in person.