Print 91 comment(s) - last by Icelight.. on Oct 5 at 1:04 PM

AT&T Legal Policy threatens to cancel service for criticizing AT&T and its affiliates

AT&T is one of the largest providers of mobile phone, home phone and internet access in the United States. In many areas, AT&T is the only choice for phone and data services. AT&T has updated its legal policy with new standards, which if enforced, could leave customers without service.

The new legal policy takes away a customer’s right to criticize AT&T without the fear of losing their service. In many rural areas where the only phone provider and Internet service provider is AT&T, this effectively means that any criticism of AT&T could leave them without data service. The section of the AT&T Legal Policy that takes away the customers constitutional right to free speech reads:

5.1 Suspension/Termination… [AT&T] may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.

Some will say that AT&T has the right to refuse service to anyone. At the same time, others will say that refusing service to someone for simply criticizing AT&T is infringing on the right to free speech. For many Internet access is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Many business professionals work from home and use broadband Internet access to connect to corporate networks. For those that are tied in with AT&T’s service (by choice or because there are no other options available), one should be careful not to step on AT&T’s toes or face disconnection.

Another item of note is that if AT&T decides to disconnect your service for any reason, they can delete any files you have, including emails, without notification. What is not clear from the policy is if criticizing any AT&T service can result in termination of your AT&T data service. If you get an iPhone and complain in comments here at DailyTech because the update breaks your unlocked iPhone, could you lose your AT&T data services?

Updated 10/2/2007
AT&T has issued the following statement with regards to the above policy:

AT&T respects its subscribers' rights to voice their opinions and concerns over any matter they wish. However, we retain the right to disassociate ourselves from websites and messages explicitly advocating violence, or any message that poses a threat to children (e.g. child pornography or exploitation). We do not terminate customer service solely because a customer speaks negatively about AT&T. This policy is not new and it's not unique to AT&T.

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RE: Let's Test That Theory
By euclidean on 10/2/2007 12:32:40 PM , Rating: 4
Sprint ftw. T-mobile...great company, but you must not do any traveling to rural areas, or like to go camping/hiking and such if you think they're the best. I'd much rather have a company with crappy customer service that has great coverage all over the place. But that is just me I guess, cause I really don't have any issues that I would have to call the customer service about anyways...

I'll agree with you about Alltel, they're a regional service provider, meaning if you're out of their coverage area, you'll have a hard time getting service or you get charged roaming out the ass, unless of course you pay extra for that no roaming :\

The one thing I haven't seen anyone say about AT&T yet though, is how would they know it's you saying the bad stuff about them? They'd have to be really invading your privacy to figure that one out..

RE: Let's Test That Theory
By dgingeri on 10/2/2007 11:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
Driving from Denver to Chicago, about half the trip is without Sprint service, as is about 2/3 of the state of Nebraska. I know this because I had a Sprint phone and frequently drove from Denver to Chicago and back again, along with having a contract ob in western Nebraska. Sprint's customer service is ok, but not great.

T-moblie has service in western Nebraska, and all along the highways all the way between Denver and Chicago. However, their customer service and warranty coverage of their phones totally sucks. If your phone dies from a hardware malfunction, best to get another one. Otherwise, you end up talking to their support for weeks and get nowhere.

I found ATT to have the best service overall, with decent customer service and coverage. The service plans were a little bit pricier, but with the coverage and customer service advantage, it was worth it.

RE: Let's Test That Theory
By audiomaniaca on 10/3/2007 8:44:40 AM , Rating: 1



RE: Let's Test That Theory
By AlphaVirus on 10/3/2007 12:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what you mean about the Tmobile and Sprint, when I had Sprint being in the city limits (Houston) it would drop like a hot potatoe. No matter where I was, on the street, in an office building, AT HOME, it would drop calls constantly. I eventually grew tired of this and went with Tmobile and have had 0 dropped calls since March of this year. I have had trips to multipls states and even while raining the phone never dropped at all.

RE: Let's Test That Theory
By weskurtz0081 on 10/3/2007 8:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with you about T-Mobile. I have been using T-Mobile for about 4 years now and it's been pretty damn good. I get coverage in areas that Cingular (now AT&T) doesn't get coverage. Of course there are some areas where the coverage does drop off, but while driving it only last for a minute or so then I pick a tower up. I have found my coverage to be much more consistent with T-Mobile than the coverage I had with Cingular. And, I am talking about coverage out in the middle of no where as well. All the way out in Fayetteville Texas I still get service.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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