Disgruntled AT&T subscribers are heeding a
battle cry from an unusual source: blogger Daniel Lyons, a Newsweek
and Forbes magazine writer that goes by the alias "Fake
Steve Jobs". In an in-character
post, Lyons called on AT&T's smartphone users to blast the
network with requests on December 18 at 12 noon PST (3 p.m. EST), to
punish it for its threats of fines.
He writes, "FWIW,
many of you probably know that Woz and I got our start by selling
boxes that hacked the old phone system back in the 1970s. I hate
these idiots more than you can imagine. The idea of spanking them
like this just gives me tingles all over."
details about the planned strike:
Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December
18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T
data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every
iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and
run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we
are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive
comments. The idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re
calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!
Since the post, thousands have commented on blogs and the recently
page for the insurgent operation.
Now an AT&T
spokesperson has blasted
the operation. He criticizing the movement writing, "We understand that
fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing
amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately
degrade service on a network that provides critical communications
services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast
majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an
irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog."
spokesperson voiced doubts, though, that the protest can do much of
anything. He points out that the Facebook group currently has
less than 1,000 fans.
Update: Wed. Dec. 16, 2009 1:32 pm
Our article previously contained a quote from an AT&T spokesperson stating that the planned operation was "totally irresponsible". Turns out that while the spokesperson indeed wrote that in an email to Cult of Mac, the quote was off the record and not meant for attribution. The official statement, however, is correct.
AT&T's spokesperson also took issue with the fact that we called its plans with the iPhone a plan to "fine" customers who use too much data. We've requested more details on a Q&A session on exactly what these plans are, but until then we're sticking to the current wording, which mirrors that widely reported on other sites, such as Engadget and Gizmodo.