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AT&T knows how to warm the hearts of internet users

AT&T is known for often taking stands unpopular with its customers.  Even Apple has indicated that it is growing impatient with AT&T for, among other things, not allowing MMS messaging on the iPhone.  However, AT&T may have bitten off more than it realized when it decided to block portions of popular internet meeting place 4chan.org.

The site which receives 150,000 to 200,000 messages a day certainly has plenty of offensive comments.  And it’s often used to launch everything from internet pranks to serious attacks.  The hacker group Anonymous is known to frequent the boards.

Apparently offended by the board, AT&T decided to block its internet users' access to it.  Starting at 10 a.m. PST on Sunday, the img.4chan.org subdomain was blocked.  According to CentralGadget.com, an internet spokesperson confirmed that the company was "currently blocking portions of the internet site 4chan.org."

AT&T's spokeperson reportedly said that the block was "following the practices of their policy department."  The spokesperson reportedly claimed to have contacted site owner Christopher "Moot" Poole and received a list of demands.  Mr. Poole says he was never contacted and is confused at AT&T's claims.

Now the company has finally restored access to the site, but that hasn't stopped anti-AT&T groups such as "Project AT&T" and "4chan4ever" from popping up.  Among their first efforts was to start a Digg campaign falsely proclaiming that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had passed away.  More efforts are expected to launch today.

Many are speculating that there must be more to this story -- some sort of attack originating from 4chan.org that hasn't been reported yet.  Otherwise, it's hard to believe that even AT&T would be brazen enough to kick such a noisy hornets’ nest.



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By mattclary on 7/27/2009 12:39:14 PM , Rating: 4
While I feel I "should" agree with you, the reality is a little different. At best, most people have little choice in who they use for an ISP. There is no free market when it comes to this.

What would you do if your cell carrier decided you couldn't call people in, say, California?


By trajan on 7/27/2009 1:13:57 PM , Rating: 4
Option I: abandon the free market and write to your elected politicans. Tell them you want a law passed to prohibit ISPs from censoring content. Good luck.

Option II: trust the free market and consider that the more d-baggery that happens by corporation, the more incentive there will be for competitors to step forward and offer better service.

I agree that the ISP market isn't the most competetive industry in America but there ARE options. If my cell carrier decided I couldn't call California, I'd switch carriers. In Mass., where I live, I'd be able to do it without paying termination fees, under our consumer protection laws. (Signing me up for a plan with no limitation and then changing the rules would pretty clearly be a unfair or deceptive practice under our 93B statute). Your laws may vary.

In some of the comments here I am simply annoyed by a sense of entitlement that appears to underly them. Nobody has the god given right to make AT&T or anyone else broadcast their message, no matter how (un)important it may be. As a born and raised left wing liberal I'm surprised I'm the one making these points, but frankly you can't champion freedom for individuals and then deny it to corporations.

AT&T and other corps will lose money doing stupid things like this, a small number of angry customers can wreck PR havoc on them. As someone else observed, they kicked a hornets nest, they got stung, they quickly reversed course. Life goes on.


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