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AT&T Silences Criticism in New Terms of Service

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the say-no-evil dept.

Censorship 298

marco13185 writes "AT&T's new Terms of Service give AT&T the right to suspend your account and all service "for conduct that AT&T believes"..."(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." After cooperating with the government's violations of privacy and liberties, I guess AT&T wants their fair share. AT&T users may want to think twice about commenting if they value their internet service."

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298 comments

IN SOVIET USA... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792725)

AT&T silences YOU!

This comment paid for by the new AT&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792739)

[]

Reason #1 for net neutrality... (5, Insightful)

ph4s3 (634087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792755)

...your ISP does not have the right to censor you or limit your access based on what you have to say so long as it conforms to any applicable laws.

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (2, Interesting)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792805)

Yeah but clearly this is a first amendment issue. Isnt AT&T subjected to Common Carrier rules for their internet access at the moment?

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792825)

Isnt AT&T subjected to Common Carrier rules for their internet access at the moment?

No. (for the thousandth time. Hopefully someday people will figure this out)

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (4, Interesting)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792905)

Then why aren't they liable for every single piece of child porn that goes through their network? Aren't they facilitating the distribution of child pornography? Possibly even accessories?

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792997)

They're not liable for what goes through their network because they are a common carrier. However, common carriers by definition do not monitor their network or censor for any reason... once you start down that slippery slope there's no going back.

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793307)

Then why aren't they liable for every single piece of child porn that goes through their network? Aren't they facilitating the distribution of child pornography? Possibly even accessories?

Because there are special laws that exempt them from liability but those are not the standard common carrier laws but special laws for ISPs.

Re:Reason #1 for net neutrality... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793309)

...your ISP does not have the right to censor you or limit your access based on what you have to say so long as it conforms to any applicable laws.
don't worry they'll find a way to push a law in to make this legal soon enough.

If you dont like it... (0, Troll)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792757)

.. why give them your money? Stupid is as stupid does.

Re:If you dont like it... (5, Insightful)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792839)

.. why give them your money?

I don't live in the states, but aren't they the sole provider in many areas?

Something needs to be done to stop the growing trend of laundry-list TOS agreements that amount to "we can kick you off our network any time we damn well feel like it"; aren't there laws about unfair clauses in these kinds of contracts.

Re:If you dont like it... (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793011)

I'm not sure about nationwide, but I live in a fairly small town and there are several competitors to AT&T in every industry they're in.

And IANAL, but I don't think reserving the right to cancel service would constitute an unfair agreement. Those laws (to the extent that a big company thats in good with the surveillance state can't just bribe their way out of them) are really more for things like contracts that allow outright theft or other activity that would be criminal outside of the contract. Like for instance if the TOS had a clause that said "If AT&T happens to overhear your credit card number in one of its many illegal wiretaps, you agree to hold AT&T blameless if they charge a bunch of Thinkgeek merchandise".

Re:If you dont like it... (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792849)

why give them your money?

Oh right, we busted up the phone monopoly decades ago, now if you don't like your phone service, YOU CAN MOVE TO ANOTHER FUCKING STATE.

But hey, if they cancel my service over this, I can demand phone service back thanks to their franchise contract and universal access laws. If they charge me to turn it back on, I'll have the city council going over that contract to see what can be done about getting some real competition in here.

Re:If you dont like it... (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792865)

Get a mobile then or VoIP etc etc.

Re:If you dont like it... (3, Insightful)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793093)

I was just hoping that this applied to AT&T's wireless service; it sounds like the perfect "get out of your 2 year contract free" scheme.

Re:If you dont like it... (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792943)

Yeah, you and your mum can go act big men on the internet, but will you actually do something about it? Nope, you are just like the rest of the people that post on the internet, big mouths. Why don't you just grow a brain and either 1) get a mobile 2) get VoIP or 3) write a letter/email/send an IM.

Re:If you dont like it... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793063)

grow a brain

LOL, thanks, I already have one.

get a mobile

And expensive high-latency low-bandwidth internet access? I'm sure that's a substitute for DSL in whatever world of rainbows and unicorns you live in.

get VoIP

"We're sorry, due to network congestion your call cannot be completed. Please try again later."

email/send an IM

That's just brilliant, why didn't I think of that, after they cut off my service, I can just send an email over the inter.... heyyy wait a minute.

Re:If you dont like it... (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793233)

If it is for internet, get vanilla ADSL or CABLE. If you want free internet, get your work to pay for it, they should :) Mine does :)

Re:If you dont like it... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793115)

In Libertopia there will be three cable providers for every municipality, and they'll offer the same policies and fees because competition is just too hard. If you don't like it you can become a billionaire and buy your own cable franchise. Don't like it? Then you must hate Thomas Jefferson, and therefore you hate the United States. Why do you hate America, Statist?

I don't like it... (3, Insightful)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792931)

But my choices for high speed internet are pretty much limited to Comcast and AT&T (BellSouth). So it's really a question of which evil empire I'm more "comfortable" with or am locked into by service agreements.

The point is not that AT&T is doing this (5, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793051)

.. why give them your money? Stupid is as stupid does

The bigger picture is that this is yet another one of those corporate slippery slopes.

  • At one time there was a first broadcaster to watermark their logo on every TV show you watch. Now they all do it.
  • Some intrepid lawyer at a credit card company thought it would be a good idea to include terms for binding arbitration in every customer contract. Now they all do it.
  • Once upon a time you could go to a movie theater without being bombarded by fuggin' Pepsi ads. Now they all do it.

The technique is straightforward. A huge company with vast legal resources will create terms of contract that are annoying, but just a little bit less annoying than the transaction cost of replacing that company with another one. They've annoyed you, but like a frog being boiled in water, you figure you can live with it. Pretty soon all of the company's competitors are doing the same thing, and now you have no other recourse, even if you wanted to go through the time, expense, and hassle of switching.

Value AT&T? (2, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792759)

AT&T users may want to think twice about commenting if they value their internet service.
I dunno. The idea of someone valuing AT&T's service while at the same time complaining about it seems a bit strange to me. They wouldn't be complaining after all if they were happy with it.

Re:Value AT&T? (2)

machinelou (1119861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792903)

Uhh... Really? So, the American Indians who marched along the trail of tears shouldn't have had any right to complain about it because, at any moment, they could have simply CHOOSEN to stop walking? Just because someone has made a choice, that doesn't necessarily mean they LIKE the thing they've chosen. AT&T may simply be the lesser of two evils.

Re:Value AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792979)

(-1, missed the flipping point)

Re:Value AT&T? (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792953)

AT&T users may want to think twice about commenting if they value their internet service.
I dunno. The idea of someone valuing AT&T's service while at the same time complaining about it seems a bit strange to me. They wouldn't be complaining after all if they were happy with it.

A person can complain about lousy sound quality, poor customer service, frequent service interruptions or the like, and value their ability to dial 911 if they are bleeding to death.

Word play... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793287)

The value of having internet service is not the same thing as the value of "their" service.

Let them try disconnecting... (5, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792775)

Let them try disconnecting a landline telephone line in mid winter in East Coast to a house which has an infant in it.
Laws exist that prevent disconnecting landline AND electricity which is used to power heat to any house in New England states which has an elder or an infant in it.

Let AT&T just try it.

You would see the full weight of law and the CT Supreme Court falling upon it.

Re:Let them try disconnecting... (2, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792861)

Let them try disconnecting a landline telephone line in mid winter in East Coast to a house which has an infant in it.

Its called "technical difficulties." Any lineworker wanting extra bonus points may climb the pole down the street and find a loose connection on your line. Might be days until they trace it down, but they fixed the wrong connection. Too bad you can't use your phone to complain and get the run-around anymore.

Been there, done that, but with Bell South.

Re:Let them try disconnecting... (2, Informative)

Vengie (533896) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793339)

The laws OP is talking about are strict liability. It doesn't matter if it was intentional or by accident.

terms don't cover landlines. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792881)

This is a legal agreement ("Agreement" and/or "TOS") between you and the AT&T company providing your Internet Access. FastAccess DSL and FastAccess Business DSL


I suspect AT&T knows they'll run afoul of the public utilities commission if they try to do this kind of the thing with a POTS telephone line.

Re:Let them try disconnecting... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792915)

I suspect that those laws haven't been updated for Internet service, which might be considered emergency critical, high speed Internet is still probably considered a luxury. I would bet that VoIP doesn't count as a "land line" either.

Re:Let them try disconnecting... (0)

comm3c (670264) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792949)

Mod parent up. There is no friggin way they're going to be able to use these terms to disconnect service solely for complaining about service provided. It would cause too many problems for At&t. At my job, we use similar language in our AUP so that we have a catch-all for all other idiotic activities that may not be specifically noted. Nothing to see here, move along. People are too paranoid

Re:Let them try disconnecting... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793171)

AT&T absolutely can -- the local telco only has to provide a dialtone and the ability to dial 911 in those cases. ATT is not the local telco in CT, so they can do whatever they please.

Brought to you by the "New" AT&T (1)

Osinoche (769786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792777)

So according to the new ToS from AT&T I can't say such things as, AT&T suxors. And AT&T is the "New and Improved" Great Satan.

Brought to you by, friends of the brotherhood.
---
Osi
Osi Noche
I came,
I saw,
I blathered on and on and on and .......

As a non-AT&T user... (1, Flamebait)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792779)

AT&T blows.

As an AT&T user... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793097)

AT&T still blows.

Posting from an AT&T connection, shut down my service if you want to guys!

Re:As a non-AT&T user... (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793343)

That's because AT&T was Sodomized By Cowboys.

Sad thing is I've heard this phrase from more people inside the company than outside (usually from baby bells "acquired" by SBC).
-nB

My service is shit ! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792781)

Come and get me yo +++ carrier lost +++

I guess (0, Flamebait)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792783)

AT&T hasn't learned anything from their monopoly days as they seem to headed in that direction. I guess they are just taking the cue from this piss poor Bush regime that doesn't think twice about trampling our rights.

Re:I guess (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792859)

So what, things were good under the monopoly, lawyers got paid lots of money to manage the break up. CEO's are getting huge bonuses for having the business acumen to re-assemble the parts. The way the modern economy works is all derivative. Long ago (think post-depression) companies that were stable in stable markets were seen as fantastic opportunities. In the past 15-20 years people became enamoured with making a quick buck by flipping (houses, stocks, anything) -- it's the derivative that matters not the fundamentals of the investment. Money is made when the derivative flips sign -- so the goal is to create a turbulent market with lots of derivative changes. Ever wonder why big oil companies offer the following logic: 1) when crude goes up, pump prices follow lock step (we have to buy expensive oil to replace the oil you just bought) and 2) when crude goes down, pump prices tail off slowly (the crude that made the product you just bought was expensive). It's all about working churning the market. The loser in the churn is the 401k/403b investor who cotributes on a market agnostic schedule. At&T is just churning on a much slower time scale.

 

Not censorship (5, Funny)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792787)

This isn't censorship but a value added service on AT&T's behalf. If someone is complaining about AT&T obviously they're unhappy with their service and so AT&T saves them the customer the hassle of calling and cancelling the service by simply cancelling it themselves. This is a great service on AT&T's part (no more having to wait 1 hour on hold to talk to a person) and I can't see how anyone could complain about it.

Re:Not censorship (5, Funny)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792821)

I can't see how anyone could complain about it.

You only say that because you want to keep your Internet connection.

Re:Not censorship (1)

gluechucker (976140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792887)

This is a great service on AT&T's part (no more having to wait 1 hour on hold to talk to a person) and I can't see how anyone could complain about it.
Well at least not by phone...

Re:Not censorship (4, Interesting)

VeteranNoob (1160115) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793255)

I can't see how anyone could complain about it.

You mean you haven't seen anybody complaining about it, right?

They wouldn't dare. (4, Insightful)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792797)

That reminds me of the modem rebate crap that I just had to go through with AT&T last week. Since the special rebate sticker that i'm supposed to affix to a postcard was accidentally left out of the box I have to request one by phone. Unfortunately the tech told me that there was nothing that she could do until my account had been with AT&T for at least 3 months. Something about a grace period to make sure that I'm not just signing up for service to get their crappy dsl modem for free after rebate.
So to get this rebate I have to wait 3 months, call AT&T customer support then wait an additional 3 to 4 months for the rebate to arrive. Thats seven whole months before they have to give the rebate back. And you know what would suck even more? If they canceled my service I wouldn't ever get [error: connection to host lost]

AT&T provides Internet service? (1)

Ang31us (1132361) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792815)

I recall their shitty Worldnet dial-up service being worse than AOL's. Whoops! I just violated their terms of service...good thing I dropped them like a bad habit years ago.

So what... (0)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792817)

So just show that it was THEIR behavior that damaged their reputation that you were talking about and you are off the hook?

Re:So what... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793325)

I quite agree, however there is great emphasis on shooting the messager rather than dealing with the real issue. If no one talks about a problem then it doesn't exist.

Hmmm... (1)

z192837465 (1163297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792837)

..with fewer ISP entities controlling access to the net, it's much easier to stifle dissent during any "emergency". I wonder if tha(dialtone)

This should end well (3, Interesting)

Joe U (443617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792841)

If AT&T starts policing content, then they have proven they have the ability and resources to police their network.

So, now the fun begins, since they have proven they can police their network, they now have to respond to any illegal activities or risk a lawsuit.

Re:This should end well (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793071)

If AT&T starts policing content, then they have proven they have the ability and resources to police their network.

So, now the fun begins, since they have proven they can police their network, they now have to respond to any illegal activities or risk a lawsuit.
I don't think that is the idea here. What the statement in question appears to say is that "If you say anything bad about us, we'll cut you off."

Do I think AT&T will cut off service if you make a Slashdot post about crappy service? No--it's not worth the effort. I think this statement is geared more towards statements that aim to defame [wikipedia.org] AT&T.

In other words: AT&T doesn't care what your opinion is, but if you start spreading outright lies designed to make AT&T look bad, we'll drop your service.

Re:This should end well (4, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793113)

Like most poorly thought out policies, what they mean, what they do and what they say are all different. It still might be enough to get a lawsuit into court.

Re:This should end well (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793453)

since they have proven they can police their network, they now have to respond to any illegal activities or risk a lawsuit.

Either way, they're probably going to regret that. If they respond to illegal activies ... they risk a lawsuit. If they don't respond ... they risk a lawsuit. Why they would even bother to open that can of worms is beyond me, I can't see the entertainment industry paying them enough to cover their losses.

They day may come when they'll be begging for Common Carrier status for their data services. They've been avoiding that so far.

Corporate dickishness (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792845)

AT&T cooperates in wholesale spying on the American public without a warrant, then goes back to Congress and asks for immunity from lawsuits. Now they slip a "no criticize" clause in their user agreement. Reminds me of Microsoft, only worse. When did dickish corporate behavior become the new standard? I must have missed that memo.

The interesting question is whether corporate behavior is just a more visible mirror of the increasing lack of civility in every day relationships? Because when I think back to times when even corporations still behaved with a modicum of civility and tended to err on the side of the customer, I realized that the general level of decency at all levels of interaction was higher.

When it comes to AT&T a whole new generation is learning why we broke them up in the first place.

Re:Corporate dickishness (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792917)

When did dickish corporate behavior become the new standard?
According to my calculations, 345BC , give or take a millennium or two...

Re:Corporate dickishness (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792991)

ethics was never a component of capitalism, we should not be surprised when companies realize that its more profitable to ignore them.

Re:Corporate dickishness (4, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793219)

ethics was never a component of capitalism, we should not be surprised when companies realize that its more profitable to ignore them.


Ok, for the love of god, stop calling the US economic system capitalism, it isn't, at least not in the way Adam Smith, or even Friedman talked about it. Capitalism assumes that the government limit regulation only to account for externalities ( pollution, healthcare, education etc... ) while simultaneously ensuring that you don't get coercive monopolies. Does this sound like the US today? AT&T is a problem precisely BECAUSE you don't have any meaningful competition. Virtually all of the problems in the US are caused by corrupt decisions that run directly against the idea of utilizing competition in a free market to balance prices. Copyright , Patents, Farmer Subsidies, Trade barriers... you name it.

It appears to me that you have two very common naive interpretations of capitalism. The first is the "libertarian" viewpoint in which the free market is a magical solution to all problems and government intervention is the source of all evil. The second is what I like to call the "hippie" interpretation which blames all problems on capitalism no matter what. I've heard people seriously trying to argue that capitalism is the root cause of homophobia, apparently due to how corporations favor "the nuclear family" or something (I was tempted to suggest that the nuclear family should be banned on environmental concerns because radiation causes cancer, but I figured it was a bad idea. ).

Really, stop blaming every single problem on capitalism ( or communism for that matter ). Reality is that the government is corrupt, which will cause you trouble in a planned economy as well as a market based one. Much of this is the consequence of a bad electoral system which favors only two very similar parties, but thinking that the problem would somehow go away if the US had a more socialistic system is naive at best. It would merely substitute government agencies for corporations. To really deal with it you would have to overhaul the electoral system, but that is not going to happen any time soon.

 

I can almost sympathize... (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793005)

with their efforts to try to get immunity. Based on the way the FBI under ex-AG Gonzalez treated everyone else, they probably threatened to expose something else AT&T had done in the past and shut down their business. So some manager decided to "follow orders" and let the FBI have their way.

Then it turns out (oops), that the FBI themselves get busted for the spying activity and AT&T is left holding the civil liabillity bag. I _almost_ have sympathy for them because there were so many other companies that stood up for their customers that show us how it should have been handled. Their handling of the spying is just another symptom of the monopoly mentality: screw the customer if it can make us some money.

Re:Corporate dickishness (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793023)

You must be really old if you consider dickish corporate behavior to be a "new" standard. Did you ever meet Jesus?

Re:Corporate dickishness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793157)

Dickishness has always been the corporate standard. Have you ever wondered why that fucker Andrew Carnegie needed to have his fortune disbursed to charitable organizations for his name to be mentioned now without "pig-molesting ass-clown?" If not you should look into the working conditions of his businesses. Being a shithead is how money is made, it's just that when companies face very little competition that they can freely flip their customers the finger. I think Ma Bell was doing that long before you existed. It's time for AT&T to get back on track.

Maybe NOT! (3, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792871)

Yes, this _sounds_ bad. But perhaps is is more aimed at net nuisances such as spammers and botnets. Those certainly harm the name of AT&T. Could get its' domains blacklisted. Still, AT&T has no shortage of highly-paid lawyers. They ought to have developed less-inflammatory wording.

As a practical matter, I would expect to see these terms on business accounts (where free speech is arguable) and less on home accounts (where it is not).

Re:Maybe NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793349)

I think we would all feel much better if the language "stated" spammers and botnets.

You are right. (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793423)

This is only to attack spammers and botnet owners. ... And maybe terrorists, definatly not people who critize AT&T. Why does everyone hate AT&T for trying to protect us?

See the parallelism with the usa government?

Frankly, I'm not surprised (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792897)

I mean, the company's logo is the fucking Death Star and even George Lucas is powerless to sue them into not using it. I'm not surprised they're prosecuting thought crime. I'm assuming that they'll be feeding pirates feet-first into industrial shredders and give the pureed results to their slavering army of uruk-lawyers.

No, they shouldn't (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792907)

AT&T users may want to think twice about commenting if they value their internet service."

No, they shouldn't. There are worse things in life than loosing your Internet service, and I expect this to stand up neither in Courts of Law, nor in the Court of Public Opinion.

Re:No, they shouldn't (2, Interesting)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793337)

So many of you are naive that these things will come out 'right' in a court of law. Let me tell you firsthand, they do not. AT&T has complete control over the courts.

It's just like the story from the other day where it costs the guy $7,500 to fight the police for arrest for not showing his license. He obviously had the law on his side and yet it cost him $7,500 to get the charges dropped. Yes you can say he was an idiot for getting to that point in the first place, but the fact is the law did nothing to protect him.

I recently took AT&T to court for not delivering on a T1 contract level of service. They turned off my service in Jan, I lost my job. I have continued to receive $600 a month bills from them and had my cell phone, voice phone and dial internet disconnected because I did not pay after Jan. Easy day in court right? Yes as a matter of fact it was. The judge drilled the AT&T lawyer a new asshole. So the final outcome? Phone still disconnected, still receiving bills. Judge signs final order written by AT&T lawyer which is nothing like what he ordered in court.

AT&T is out of control and no one is going to stop them anytime soon. It will take another Judge Green to step in (like the breakup in the 80s) and I wouldn't expect that to happen for another 20 years.

Not a problem... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792921)

I really don't have a problem with AT&T DSL service since I got it two years ago. Comcast is a different story.

When I tried to explain to the service rep that the problem was on their end, the service rep "accidentally" deleted the cable modem info from the system and I had to wait two weeks for the system to purge itself before the modem info could be added back in. The technician verified that the problem was on their end. On another service call, it took a month to convince them that I couldn't get Internet access because the problem was in the street box. When a technician finally came out, it was a part that another technician installed backwards in the street box. Go figure.

Re:Not a problem... (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793383)

Although I do have a problem with SBC now ATT DSL (it seems to disconnect every once and a while for anywhere from a minute to almost a half hour) Comcast Cable was (perhaps not surprisingly, part owned by ATT for some of that time) terrible for me.

First, I moved into a house and asked for the cable to be activated. They insisted it already was, which didn't make sense, especially since we weren't getting any picture. After a few rounds of that, and about 10 days later, my son found a cable amplifier in the crawlspace that was unplugged. He plugged it in and we did have cable. We told them about it, and they insisted we couldn't possibly have an amplifier, because it would cause problems and they could detect it. We kept it plugged in and never had a problem.
A few days later, a bill got delivered to our house but addressed to the previous homeowner. Turns out Comcast was still billing the old homeowner for our service. She had canceled at the beginning of November, but was getting billed for November, anyway. Worse than that, she was getting billed for December, too, even though we had moved in December 10.
Well, it took her a while to get it straightened out. So of course, Comcast sent us a bill including Novemeber - we weren't even living in the house, then. After several clueless help calls, they sent us an itemized "bill" that was just a screenshot of their DOSy looking billing program. We solved the issue, basically, by paying them for what we owed, and telling them they weren't getting anything for the time we didn't have the use of cable.
The last straw was a couple of years later, when cable failed for us. They tested things, and said it was a problem with the cable on our side of the service box, so they would have to run a new one, and we would have to pay for it. We asked him how they would get under the asphalt driveway between their service and our house. They said they would go around the garage. That would be about 200 feet of new underground cable, with no guarantees it would solve the problem. And, since our driveway abuts the property line, much of it would be run in our neighbor's property. We told him to go away, and we ordered satellite, which has been marginally better.

Isn't this illegal (1)

kiwioddBall (646813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20792935)

I'm not from the USA, but don't you have something that allows freedom of speech and expression in your constitution or something? Wouldn't this make AT&Ts clause unenforcable?

Re:Isn't this illegal (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793059)

it says "Congress shall make no law..."

and since AT&T isn't a branch of Congress (more like an unowned subsidiary of the NSA), the Constitution wouldn't apply. If I'm in a restaurant loudly complaining about my lunch, the restaurant isn't required constitutionally to sell me dessert.

AT&T's disincentive to use this is that if they lose customers they lose money. This isn't the 1970's and even if a handful of people living in the ass-end of Wyoming don't have a lot of competitors to choose from, the vast, vast majority of their customers (99%+ I'm sure) can easily just go get a new phone company, or a competitor's broadband, or a new cell phone.

On the question of Freedom of Speech... (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793069)

Please, everyone get their facts straight. The constitution limits the government's powers. It says nothing about this sort of conduct between two private parties (a corporation and an individual).

Now, that being said, a corporation only has the authority to exist with limited liability for the shareholders because the people via their elected government, grants them that right.

It is the right of the people, as given in the constitution, to create laws, via their elected representatives, that prohibit a corporation from having this sort of conduct.

The question here is, is there or is there not a law that prevents this behavior by AT&T. If not, work to enact one. If so, sue.

Again, the constitution limits government power. It does this primarily by limiting the government's power to those powers specifically enumerated and no others. As an additional emphasis, the "Bill of Rights" was added to the constitution specifying some particular thing that the government is explicitly prevented from interfering with (e.g. Freedom of Speech).

Many of the founding father's felt that the "Bill of Rights" was a mistake as it left the impression that anything not mentioned in the Bill is a power/right reserved to the government when in fact the opposite is true.

Kind Regards,

Gerry B.

ammunition (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20792941)

This is ammunition that we can take to our congressional representatives as evidence that the telcos cannot be trusted with the Internet. AT&T could not have given us a better weapon in our fight for network neutrality regulation.

Heh.. Forget them! (1)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793017)

I hate all cell phone companies. Including AT&T. They try to rip you off for every penny you have. I can go on all day about horror stories with the phone companies. I hate them all! AT&T has no right to remove my service just because I talk bad about them on Slashdot and other websites. That's ridiculous! (yes, I am an AT&T subscriber)

I dunno... (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793027)

This sounds kind of bad, but think about it. If you sold John a box of apples and John then goes around telling everybody that they were rotten. Then he comes back and buys another one. Why should you have to do business with him?

AT&T isn't restricting your right to say bad things about them, they are simply saying that if you do, they don't want to do business with you anymore.

Now, perhaps if you can argue that they are a near monopoly, they shouldn't be able to do that. But if you have a choice among half a dozen other providers, I don't see a big problem. In particular, if they cancel the contract, you're out of it anyway--better than being stuck with a provider you hate for a couple of years.

(And if you made the mistake of buying a locked phone, well...)

Re:I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793259)

You used to have a choice from a lot more alternative providers... but AT&T has been buying them for 20 years.

AT&T new's motto: "Be Evil" (1)

tytso (63275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793043)

Is anyone really surprised? This is the same company which is against Network Neutrality. The simple answer is to simply not to buy or patronize any AT&T or Southwest Bell services if at all possible.
]

On the bright side... (3, Funny)

Leuf (918654) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793057)

If AOL did this it would finally be possible to end your service over the net.

Even Turkish Telekom is better ! (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793073)

yes they oversell without having the necessary infrastructure, yes most of their services are shitty, but i can curse and swear about them and TO them wherever i want (even on the phone) and even high courts in turkey order turkish telekom to cut uncompetitive practices. hell, even turkish telekom dns'es update themselves like in 30 minute intervals - change a .com domain name's nameservers in enom, voila - not 30 minutes pass before t.telekom dnses pick it up and show site from new place.

america, land of the free. or was land of the free. why are you people are putting up with this kind of shit there, and not rise up and put an end to that i dont know. you have overthrown the strongest monarchy of the times at 1776. you should be able to topple a bunch of cash greedy bastards.

Re:Even Turkish Telekom is better ! (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793117)

...you should be able to topple a bunch of cash greedy bastards.

Oh, we will! One thing about us Americans is when we get prickly, we get real ornery.

We really don't stand for this shite for too long. Companies can get away with it for awhile until enough people get affected by it then, BAM! We drop the hammer.

<jingoism> I'm proud to be an AMERICAN where at least I know I'm free..............[NO CARRIER] </jingoism>

It's just scare tactics (1)

duh_lime (583156) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793081)

These clowns can put whatever they want in their contracts. Each contract/terms_and_conditions has a clause that if any part is unenforceable, the others still stand.

This is really just intimidation. If they get away with it, they've won.

Let's get Mikey to try it first...

The Bully Pulpit (3, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793101)

AT&T, taken apart decades ago because of their abuse of monopoly power, has not learned how to compete in a free marketplace and, thus, must go back to their orginal business model: hateful monopolizing. Perhaps some of you remember or have seen reruns of Lily Tomlin's wonderful ATT operator.

The main problem with having a president who lies and suspends constitutional rights is that the public, by example, are led to believe lying and bullying are OK. "Gee, the president makes it work for him...."

This is the famous Bully Pulpit that the first President Roosevelt talked about.

To give a more specific example of this principle, when former president George Herbert Walker Bush complained publicly that the Japanese government was trading unfairly with the United States (this was before the Tokyo stock crash) several Japanese tourists were attacked and beaten on the streets of US cities.

We need a president who loves truth. Otherwise, the US has more to worry about than Ma Bell.

Of course, Ma Bell is bad enough....

disclaimer: I am an ATT customer in CA. rethinking my subscription to their service.

But wait -- that leaves me with using ComCast....

Reach Out and Crush Someone (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793137)

I don't think this would hold up in court. Something about First amendment rights. And something about inhibiting interstate trade... in this case, the trade of ideas...

"Do you promise to covet propriety prosperity posterity and never hurt the state say what?"

What?

"Take the stand..."

The judge would look at the contract, laugh, and say:

ATT - get a fucking life you idiots. DISMISSED! NEXT!!!

"Yes your honour. Next is The case of World v. GW Bush..."

And the judge smirks - "Another slam dunk...I might get to play some golf today if this keeps up..."

RS

from Crazy People (1)

Potent (47920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793179)

If we fold, there will be no damn phones. AT&T. We're tired of taking your crap!

Simple math (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793187)

Government pays off telecom with $200bn.(nudge nudge, wink wink. You don't really *have* to roll out the hardware, guys.)
Government gets telecom to install snoop switches everywhere. Not just when they need a tap, but you know, *proactively*. Telecom has to "want" to do it and they do.
Government doesn't say anything about bandwidth, universal access, net neutrality or EULAs that go against the Constitution. Meanwhile other countries (all buying U.S. hardware) roll way ahead in phones, fiber, online privacy laws, online video and film, etc.

Look, it's a pattern. Reminds me of Microsoft and the Government too. Wonder how much they gave the government for the same purpose, huh?
It isn't easy to see the pattern until years go by, or to do much about it. But having this system and leaving important things to such corporations is why the U.S. is, I'm sorry to say, beginning to suck. However I did just rent two cheap servers in the U.S., because there are still cool U.S. geeks. When you complain though you have to realize you get what you pay for. In this case, you paid for the kind of AT&T and Comcast that you have.

Conceivably it would be possible to have good companies that do what the government wants, unless perhaps the government slyly applied massive pressure to turn them into the kind of companies that can get bought off, but it would appear that the financial system prefers jerks. The only way out would seem to get a lot of shareholders mad.

protection against defrauders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793231)

could this possibly be a way for att to protect themselves from a scenario where someone is pretending to be att and misrepresenting the company?

of course, if this isn't the case, thats some fucked up shit.

Sh1t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793299)

The CathEdral [kler3k.org]? to make sure the people's faces is

They cant stop me! (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793437)

I'll voice whatever valid criticisms I like about AT&T's poor service, corruption, unfair compet342976r*&^*^ &68 *^*&^...

[NO CARRIER]

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