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Censorship

AT&T Denies Censorship, Won't Change Contract 170

Posted by kdawson
from the trust-us-we're-good-guys dept.
Vox writes "As we discussed here a few days back, AT&T's Terms of Service has very broad language giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company. Ars Technica notes that such broad language is not unusual in ISPs' terms of service, and that AT&T told them they won't be changing the contract. A company spokesman said it's not a big deal because they have no intent to censor criticism. AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs. As the article notes, taking the company on faith after the spying scandal is asking maybe a little too much."
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AT&T Denies Censorship, Won't Change Contract

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  • Ok (Score:5, Funny)

    by toleraen (831634) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:00PM (#20826029)

    As the article notes, taking the company on faith after the spying scandal is asking maybe a little too much.
    Fine then: AT&T sucks.

    Time to play the waiting game.
    • Re:Ok (Score:4, Insightful)

      by omeomi (675045) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:06PM (#20826119) Homepage
      A company spokesman said it's not a big deal because they have no intent to censor criticism.

      Oh, well okay then, why didn't they say so? Hell, we should give the government the right to censor too, as long as they _say_ they have no intent to do it...I mean, governments and big corporations never lie to the populace, right?

      /sarcasm
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hal_Porter (817932)
        My UK ISP Demon has had a clause like this for ages

        http://www.demon.net/helpdesk/producthelp/aup/thusaup/ [demon.net]
        Demon cannot tolerate any behaviour by customers which negatively impacts upon its own equipment or network, or upon the use by other customers of the Internet, or which damages Demon's standing in the wider Internet community.

        It's a bit broad, like most consumer contracts - essentially they can stop you being a customer if you piss them off. But as far as I know they use it to get read of spammers, sca
        • by dodobh (65811)
          But throwing people out for actively criticising your company is likely to lower your reputation in the Internet community.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Spacezilla (972723)

          I'm very happy with Demon.
          Yes, I can see why you would say that. :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davester666 (731373)
        a) "clause giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company"
        b) "the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs"

        Actually, won't (a) actively prevent (b). Statistically, AT&T must employ some people who are child molesters and/or view child pornography. The clause could silence someone who wanted to 'out' one of these employees. Sure it's highly unlikely, but I don't see any other way the two i
    • Today then tomorrow (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you don't intend to act on the terms of a contract, then why are those terms in that contract?

      Maybe current AT&T management has no intention of terminating accounts for criticism of the company, but what about the new managers who will be running things tomorrow? Your promises of "we won't do that" have no binding power whatsoever over the other people who will inherit the power of that contract tomorrow. (not to mention that they don't have any legal binding power over you, today).

      Sorry, but that
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SargentDU (1161355)
      But you have to be a customer for them to cut you off.
      • by toleraen (831634)
        Every month I give AT&T $39.99 + taxes, and every month they give me access to the Internet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kimvette (919543)
      I am an AT&T (formerly Cingular) customer. I love AT&T. AT&T can do no wrong.

      AT&T, thank you for not disconnecting my service upon reading this post.
    • Yeah! AT&T really su... CARRIER LOST
  • Clause not needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:01PM (#20826033) Homepage Journal
    If all they want to do is assert their right to shut down exploitative sites & users, wouldn't clauses A (violation of Acceptable Use Policy) and B (violation of law/regulation/tariff/etc.) be enough, without clause C (make AT&T look bad)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by enrevanche (953125)
      clause C (make AT&T look bad)

      should actually be stated

      clause C (make AT&T look worse)

      which is actually not really feasible, so it should be impossible for them to shut you off

  • open container law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:02PM (#20826051)
    Translation:

    Even though we can, we won't bust you or censor you... unless we want to, then we have a contract to point at. PLUS, if Uncle Sugar sends in the FBI to snoop you, we can point to the contract that YOU signed, saying we could. So we're indemnified.
    • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:07PM (#20826133) Homepage Journal
      "Hey, what's this about owing you my first-born child?"

      "Oh, that's standard contract language. Don't worry about it. We won't exercise it, we just make sure we have the option to."

      "Oh, okay, then."

      5 years later....

      "We've come for Billy."

      "What do you mean?"

      "We have a contract saying you'd give us your firstborn as an apprentice. You signed it."

      "But you said you'd never use that clause!"

      "New management. I don't know what you're complaining about. You signed it without duress, and initialed the clause indicating you'd read and understood it."

      "Mommy?"

      "Sorry, honey, you have to go away with the nice Sith Lord. I'll text you every day, I promise."
      • by pokerdad (1124121) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:23PM (#20826385)

        New management. I don't know what you're complaining about. You signed it without duress, and initialed the clause indicating you'd read and understood it.

        Sounds like several rental agreements I've had over the years. When moving in I ask the landlord to make note of a dozen or more minor flaws with the apartment. The landlord either outright refuses (saying, we would never ding you for something that small), or says they'll do it but doesn't, then when I am trying to get my damage deposit back years later and am now dealing with a different person I lose most or all of the deposit because there is no documentation that says these little problems pre-date me.

        • by cez (539085) *
          Poor mans patent that shit next time:

          Take pictures of all the dings and what not, maybe type up a little something for your landlord to sign indicating that he was aware of this damage prior to your moving in...even if he won't sign something let him know what you are doing, put those pictures / papers in an envelope and mail it to yourself your first day of occupation...then don't open the envelope until necessary, ie until infront of a judge (small claims court), but let whoever is trying to screw you
          • by AuMatar (183847)
            The whole mailing to yourself thing is a big myth. It has no legal standing. You can easily fake a postmark, or mail yourself an unsealed envelope and put what you want to in later. Get the landlord to sign, or find another lease- those are the only ways to cover yourself.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Known Nutter (988758)
              But, but... they did it on Law & Order!
            • You can easily fake a postmark, or mail yourself an unsealed envelope and put what you want to in later. If you put the stamp over the sealed side of the envelope such that you can't open the envelope without disturbing the postmark, then you have more reasonable proof that that was the date that it was sent.

              Remember: civil cases are about balance of the probabilities, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Yes, it's better to have the landlord's signature, but don't roll over and play dead just because (s)he doesn't want to play ball.

              • by AuMatar (183847)
                True, lack of a signature doesn't mean the judge won't be convinced. But an envelope with a date on it has 0 weight- you'd get exactly the same amount of credibility bringing the photos without an envelope. I'm not saying don't fight- I'm trying to dispell a factoid that a mailed envelope has some legal meaning. It doesn't. It's useless for your case. A notary public as suggested elsewhere is far more useful.
            • by vux984 (928602)
              Or have a notoray public sign it.

              Failing that, a few credible witnesses; preferably not your relatives or the people you smoke dope with on the couch. You know, a doctor, lawer, or another professional is ideal. But pretty much anybody will do.

              You don't need to -prove- beyond the shadow of a possibility that you might have faked the pictures/signatures to get out of paying.

              You just have to convince the judge that of the two people in front of him you are the one telling the truth about the state of the apar
            • by toddestan (632714)
              On the other hand, in a civil court, the bar for things like that are a bit lower. I'm pretty sure that taking pictures with a film camera of the damaged areas of interest with the date feature turned on would probably go a long ways towards proving that the damage was there when you moved in, so long as you kept the original negatives and prints (which typically have a time stamp on them from the processor).
        • by Nimey (114278)
          Take pictures of everything and otherwise document the problems, date it all, and stick it somewhere safe. Show the landlord a copy (not the original) if he give you flak when you move out. You should also give a copy to your insurance company when you move in.
        • I don't know about elsewhere, but here (BC, Canada) it's always been the landlord's responsibility to do a move-in and move-out walk-through and note damage, having the tenant sign off on it. Back when I was renting, I had one or two try to pull B.S. on me and I just asked to see the pre-move-in inspection. In one case there was none (I was fine), in another it was lost (I was fine), and in the last they found it and it did note that the damage existed.

          Of course, some landlords just try to screw tenants o
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        "Lawyers quibbles can get you killed." -- Doctor Who, "The Invasion of Time" Part 1 [imdb.com]
      • by IronChef (164482)
        "Sorry, honey, you have to go away with the nice Sith Lord. I'll text you every day, I promise."

        Are you kidding? Texting is expensive.
    • heh, that's what contracts have come down to today: they all make you agree to ridiculous terms that they don't ever actually intend to enforce against you, except as leverage.

      It's not just in telecom. It's in credit cards too: "We can raise your interest rates whenever we feel like it, even on 'fixed' rates. We normally won't, but what they heck, you might annoy us some day."

      Or my apartment. "You have to notify us 60 days in advance for a moveout." "Hey, here's my notice today, 60 days in advance." "Oh,
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pilgrim23 (716938)
        run a line thru 90% of the contract. inital the line. then sign. And remember: SMILE!
    • That's the thing. It doesn't matter what they say they intend to do, it may even be true. But I would expect that eventually, they'll decide to take advantage of the wording. That's why it's the right thing to demand, obvious potential abuses that they are unwilling to close should basically scream that they intend to use the clase to that end.
  • Le Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:03PM (#20826067) Journal

    AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs.
    Then put that specific language into the contract.
    The only reason to use broad statements is so that you have wiggle room later on.

    Lawyers love vague contract terms... Judges not so much.
    • Why do that when they can "Won't somebody PLEAASE think of the children?!" and put critics on the spot as pedo supporters?

      Remember them terrerists... if you're not with us....
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        Yeah guys, it's so simple. Maybe you need a refresher course. It's all pedoists and terrorphiles these days.
    • by kcornia (152859)
      yeah first thing I thought when I read that was What the hell does disparaging AT&T have to do with harming children.

      Then it occurred to me. If children see you disparaging AT&T, they may not grow up to be consumers of AT&T products, so that would be pre-emptively harmful to the children.

      It's genius really.
    • AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children

      Because nothing gets a minor to drop his drawers faster than trashing AT&T.(TM)
  • AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs
    Like drowning puppies, using drugs/alcohol while pregnant, and foiling terrorists. Those are all good reasons, right?

    Actually, to me it sounds like an unenforceable clause of the contract that they put in there to be able to strong arm someone even though it may not stand up in court.
  • AT&T's Terms of Service has very broad language giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company

    Pretty standard at government agencies like AT&T, right?

  • AT&T sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:05PM (#20826095)
    AT&T sucks

    The ACLU won the first round of this legal challenge in August 2006, when U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the NSA program violates the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in her ACLU v. NSA decision. "It was never the intent of the Framers to give the President such unfettered control," Taylor wrote in the decision, "particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights."

    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/index.html [aclu.org]

    "AT&T has been named a defendant in a class action lawsuit that claims the telecommunications company illegally cooperated with the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping program.

    A Los Angeles Times article dated Dec. 26 quoted an unnamed source as saying the NSA has a "direct hookup" into an AT&T database that stores information about all domestic phone calls, including how long they lasted.

    http://news.com.com/AT38T+sued+over+NSA+spy+program/2100-1028_3-6033501.html [com.com]

    "Have you turned over information or opened up your networks to the NSA without being compelled by law?"

    Company Response
    Adelphia Communications Declined comment
    AOL Time Warner No [1]
    AT&T Declined comment
    BellSouth Communications No
    Cable & Wireless* No response
    Cablevision Systems No
    CenturyTel No
    Charter Communications No [1]
    Cingular Wireless No [2]
    Citizens Communications No response
    Cogent Communications* No [1]
    Comcast No
    Cox Communications No
    EarthLink No
    Global Crossing* Inconclusive
    Google Declined comment
    Level 3* No response
    Microsoft No [3]
    NTT Communications* Inconclusive [4]
    Qwest Communications No [2]
    SAVVIS Communications* No response
    Sprint Nextel No [2]
    T-Mobile USA No [2]
    United Online No response
    Verizon Communications Inconclusive [5]
    XO Communications* No [1]
    Yahoo Declined comment

    * = Not a company contacted by Rep. John Conyers.
    [1] The answer did not explicitly address NSA but said that compliance happens only if required by law.
    [2] Provided by a source with knowledge of what this company is telling Conyers. In the case of Sprint Nextel, the source was familiar with Nextel's operations.
    [3] As part of an answer to a closely related question for a different survey.
    [4] The response was "NTT Communications respects the privacy rights of our customers and complies fully with law enforcement requests as permitted and required by law."
    [5] The response was "Verizon complies with applicable laws and does not comment on law enforcement or national security matters."

    http://news.com.com/Some+companies+helped+the+NSA%2C+but+which/2100-1028_3-6035305.html [com.com]

    Additional info from the EFF

    http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/faq.php [eff.org]
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:06PM (#20826115)
    > As the article notes, taking the company on faith after the spying scandal is asking maybe a little too much."

    ...but as the contract notes, accusing AT&T of being run by bunch of wannabe censors, spies, and just plain all-round fucknozzled douchebags, is saying maybe a little too muc-
    NO CARRIER

  • by porkrind (314254) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:06PM (#20826123) Homepage Journal
    So are we going to have to draft a bill of rights and ask all online providers, from ISP's to online service companies, to sign it? Is that even remotely possible?

    Here's a stab at some of the rights I'd like to see protected:

    1. You may not restrict the right to access, download, store, manage, edit, and publish my data on the platform and web site of my choosing. Period.
    2. You may not terminate my account for political statements, inappropriate language, statements of sexual nature, religious commentary, or statements critical of your service, with exceptions for specific laws, eg. hate speech, where they apply

    Hmm... that's a good start. Any others to add?

    -John Mark
    • Something like that was needed
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gillbates (106458)

      with exceptions for specific laws, eg. hate speech, where they apply

      Problem is, one man's freedom of speech is another man's hate speech.

      • If I feel oppressed or offended by you pointing out the flaws in my religion, then I have grounds to have your account terminated under hate speech laws.
      • If your religion condemns my sexual choices, then I can have your speech banned under most hate speech laws.
      • If you question the holocaust, or are even unsure of the numbers killed (was it four million? or six?),
      • ... most who object to it do so not out of hatred, but because they've seen the effect it has had on individuals (AIDS, etc..).
      • If you question the holocaust, or are even unsure of the numbers killed (was it four million? or six?), then your speech can be banned under hate speech laws.


        One number I saw was 11 million and have reasons to believe it may be accurate.
    • by dyfet (154716)
      This is what happens when free-born citizens are made to exchange their very real rights to become "consumers" who mearly have privileges. You actually have these rights already. Are you suggesting, hey, maybe something like a "bill or rights", with "freedom of speech"? Why not use the rights you have or do what is nessisary to restore them rather than begging ISP's to sign your "privilege" petition in place of the rights you actually once had and which nobody is ready or willing to fight for anymore.
    • You have a right not to use said service if you don't like it. Bill of Rights? Come on, get real.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:10PM (#20826203) Homepage Journal
    I stopped supporting AT&T after the NSA fiasco. I refuse to buy anything of theirs again (sadly, this also means no iPhone, assuming that the hackers can't unlock it with 1.1.1 firmware).

    There are alternatives that aren't evil. For instance, for hosting: my service [thoughtbug.com] (shameless plug) -- unless it's illegal or interferes with other clients, I won't touch it. :)
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      unless it's illegal or interferes with other clients, I won't touch it. :)

      So you only host stuff that's either illegal or interferes with other clients? Great business model you have, no?

      -b.

      • by mind21_98 (18647)
        Yeah, English is a bit silly like that, no? What I meant to say is that unless I get a subpoena (or DMCA request) or if your Web site slows down the server, I probably won't touch it. (if it's something that's definitely illegal, like pirated music or applications, and I see it before the copyright owners do, I'll take it down)

        Hope that helps!
        • Wouldn't enforcing things like bandwidth, disk, and cpu quotas make more sense than "if you're abusing our service, we'll cut it"?
          • by mind21_98 (18647)
            One implies the other, but I probably do need to be clearer on that. Thank you for the suggestion. :)
    • by Deagol (323173)
      I like the hosting philosophy of NearlyFreeSpeech.net [nearlyfreespeech.net]. So far as I'm aware, they rank pretty well in the "not evil" department. I am a customer of theirs -- a happy one, at that (especially cool pricing model) -- but I'm always on the look-out for cheap, ethical hosting services to recommend to friends/family/clients. Thanks for the link.
      • by mind21_98 (18647)
        Thank you, that is very much appreciated. :) There don't seem to be all that many places that are ethical these days.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:12PM (#20826229)

    A company spokesman said it's not a big deal because they have no intent to censor criticism. AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions

    Then it won't be a problem removing it, now will it? Especially since existing tort law covers libel?

    Any time someone says "oh, we don't intend to use that clause, ignore it", the correct answer is "I don't intend to take a verbal assurance you won't exercise a contractually granted right."

    Any time someone insists on guaranteeing something off the record or verbally instead of in the contract you are negotiating there is a reason, especially when their statements contradict terms in the contract.

  • ..... Because while others have similar policies, AT&T's new spin on this will encourage these companies to get more aggressive about minimizing (if not eliminating) negativity about their product/service. That would really suck if that became true.
  • by QCompson (675963) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:16PM (#20826307)
    Blanket censorship excuse: "We're uhh... stopping the exploitation of children!"

    Blanket surveillance excuse: "We're uhh... stopping the exploitation of children!"

    Blanket excuse for a telecommunication company/government entity to do anything and everything it wants: "We're uhh... stopping the exploitation of children!"

    Why has this method been so effective for so long? When will the madness end?
  • They claim its so they can stop sites that would be damaging to their name if they were associated with it. An example (while I don't know if they'd use the rule in this scenario) is if they were involved in hosting or providing services to a racial-hate site, they could cancel or suspend that account. However, no matter what way they slice it, its still censorship. Maybe they don't intend to use it to censor badmouthing the company, but its still censorship. If its not illegal, but they don't allow it,
  • I'm locked-in to a 2-year contract, and my AT&T service (formerly Cingular) quality has decreased since AT&T bought them. This clause gives me a way to get out of my contract. Hopefully this can count as my first official criticism. Oh, and the fact that they keep sending me text messages offering me additional services. Cingular didn't do THAT.
  • *slithers away*
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:19PM (#20826343) Homepage
    I detest the transparent prevarications of companies (and governments and ...) that claim a mile, but say "don't worry, we won't use more than an inch." I can understand that given the fuzziness of legal boundaries a prudent corporation might want to give himself a little extra wiggle-room, but my limited experience is that whatever is claimed will, eventually, be used... all of it.

    There's a wonderful scene in a novel by John D. MacDonald's book Condominium in which a an agent pushes a legal paper at a condominium buyer saying it is "just a formality." A week later, the buyer is in the office trying to get action on various construction problems and glitches. The air conditioner won't work, for example. The agent says "You can handle that yourself; contact the manufacturer." After several serious complaints have been brushed aside, the buyer starts mumbling about withholding payments and legal action, and the agent tells him that he's basically signed all his rights away.

    "But you said that was just a formality," says the buyer.

    "That's right," says the agent, "it is a formal, binding, legal agreement."
  • So to prevent that they prohibit you from talking bad about the company? Huh?
  • by torkus (1133985) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:27PM (#20826451)
    Everyone's caught up in this clause on the contract but no one even things twice about the binding arbitration clause in almost every contract (including this one).

    They usually read something like "you agree never to sue us. Ever. If you're ever unhappy you agree to use binding arbitration (usually with a clause requiring phone, email, or mail settlement and barring in-person) with our chosen arbitration company xyz" ATT actually makes brief mention of small claims court but that's about it.

    Now, i know our court systems are horribly abused but it seems that a legitimate use for them "They billed my checking account for 12 months of service when it never worked according to their advertised bla bla bla" can never actually come to fruition.

    As for the clause everyone's complaining about: Would you let someone run a website/blog bashing your hosting company ON one of their servers? If you hate ATT enough that you'd publicly bash them, why would you use their servers to do it?

    I think this whole topic is a waste of time.

    person a "I want to be able to post my website and say whatever i want"
    person b "well i know ISP XYZ censors what you post"
    person a "Oh, ok. I won't go there then. There's only 14 million other hosting copmanies and plenty of ISP's"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      person a "Oh, ok. I won't go there then. There's only 14 million other hosting copmanies and plenty of ISP's"

      Yeah, I was thinking of switching back to dialup too. There just isn't that much need for me to have websites display in less than a couple of minutes, and online gaming was kind of overrated.

      Of course, my dialup would be going over AT&T's phonelines, so I suppose they could send some guy out with the wirecutters if they don't like what I have to say.
    • "Now, i know our court systems are horribly abused but it seems that a legitimate use for them "They billed my checking account for 12 months of service when it never worked according to their advertised bla bla bla" can never actually come to fruition."

      just re-itterating what I've already said a few times; Been there, done that. Got billed for 6 months for a t1 that was turned off. Took them to small claims court - TN allows $24k in small claims court - I won the case according to the judge - 1 month lat
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jdjbuffalo (318589)
      Basically what Qzukk said above me.

      You have to realize that in a truly capitalist environment you could get away with this because someone could go to a different ISP. But in many areas you have a choice between 1-2 ISPs (not counting dial-up). You have the cable company and the phone company (and the various 3rd party resellers of the phone companies lines).

      Whereas in a capitalist utopia you would have probably 10 different ISPs and all would have different terms and you could easily choose to switch bet
  • By including this clause in their contract, are they not themselves tending to damage the reputation of AT&T? Do they not provide Internet service to themselves? If so, then they should "immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of [their] Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by" themselves.

    Wow, that was easy. I'm all set up to follow in Oolon Coluphid's footsteps.
  • by k1e0x (1040314) on Tuesday October 02, 2007 @01:30PM (#20826511) Homepage
    Far as I'm concerned with the feds allowing their latest merger and AT&T's willingness to turn over any data they ask for.. AT&T might as well be the government. Good ol' SovietBell. heh
    • by Adambomb (118938)

      Good ol' SovietBell
      How would anyone label AT&T as socialist or communistic heh.

      Seems to me more like VichyBell for the Neo-Fascist-ically inclined =)
  • by mi (197448)

    ... I would not do business with you either.

    [...] giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company.

    Contrary to the popular opinion, discrimination is not illegal, unless it is on the basis of race, religion, health, or age (with some ifs and buts).

    Discriminating on the basis of expression of disagreable opinions (other than religious) is perfectly legal. And it better remain so...

    • by roystgnr (4015) *
      Discriminating on the basis of expression of disagreable opinions (other than religious) is perfectly legal.

      Not with government support for that discrimination, it's not. Freedom of Speech shouldn't just mean that you can't be thrown in jail for speaking your mind; indirect infringements like giving eminent domain rights, government-sanctioned monopolies, etc. to censors ought to apply too. If your business requires drawing lines from point A to point Z whether the owners of points B through Y like it or
      • by mi (197448)

        indirect infringements like giving eminent domain rights, government-sanctioned monopolies, etc. to censors ought to apply too.

        Why? I don't see the above as self-evident at all. Unless the censorship was caused by or is otherwise in direct relationship with the government-provided benefits (which it is not in this case), there is no relation...

        • The only reason AT&T can even think of trying to squelch "I hate AT&T even though I'm their customer" complaints is because the more reasonable alternative of "I hate AT&T and am now someone else's customer" is often impractical or impossible. And the responsibility for that falls in the lap of government decisions to give AT&T certain rights that are not freely available to would-be competitors.
          • by mi (197448)

            "I hate AT&T and am now someone else's customer"

            That's simply not true. AT&T's monopoly on phone service ended decades ago. They never had monopoly on Internet service.

  • ... think of the children?!?!
  • One of my first lessons in capitalism after the change of the political system in Poland was the lesson about contracts:

    • if you trust each other, you don't need a written contract
    • if one of the parties insists on having a written contract, there's no place for "trust"; you must treat every single word and punctuation in a contract as something that will be brought in the court one day -- otherwise it wouldn't be there.

    Want to terminate accounts of paedophiles and abusers? Place the wording about them in

  • Why the fuck was this posted? They NEED broad language! EVERYONE has broad language in regards to what they can and can't do with email accounts; it's called "CYA", short for "Cover your ass".

    This is yet another non issue that KDawson has turned into a rant against THE MAN!!!!1111! Why is he still posting articles?
  • The company known as AT&T isn't the same AT&T that we knew in the past. All it is now is just a name that a corporation with an incredibly bad reputation for customer service is hiding behind. When they've trashed this brand they'll rename the company and go on abusing their customers.

    Remember Southwestern Bell (SBC)? I'll trace the history through cell phone service providers because that's the information I have.

    When I got my first cell phone in California, it was with PacBell Mobile. Good compa

  • "Really, it's OK to give us all this power, we NEED it to protect our/your/their rights. Sure, it COULD be abused, but we would NEVER DO THAT."

    Now just how many times have we heard that???

    It is never a good idea to make a law broader than is necessary so that you can make sure you have all the criminals covered, at the expense of making even a small minority of the innocent sanctioned. If you can't word the law in such a way as to not incriminate the innocent, it's a bad law. And yes, it really is ok to
  • And the secret is out- the new at&t is being run by the Turks! [wikipedia.org]
  • What if the clause didn't come from higher-ups - but instead of from service personnel??

    I had two friends who had worked for a small cheap foreign ISP in service. Since this is service and this is small ISP, they were all-around specialists who had to deal with literally everything, except picking the phone when customers had dialed. They are specialists after all - hot line isn't their job. But rest - is.

    So. They were always complaining about customers. No, not every one of them. Not who even call t

  • How many times does this thread have to pop up, only to be shot down by the concept that the US Constitution does not protect AT&T customers by granting them freedom of speech?

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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