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: Newsflash
By TomZ on 10/2/2007 4:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I also pay for my kids education. We paid for pre-school, and we're paying our property taxes that go almost directly for education. When they are college-age, we'll pay for that, too. I don't see anything different there. We earn it, we spend it.

I think everyone in the US already as access to an education, just like they do with health care. There's no "free" education going on, at least not the way I see it, just like there's no such thing as a free lunch. The communities have to set up and pay for their local schools. This is paid for by the citizens.

I agree with you, though, Iraq is not worth the cost in terms of those who have died and been injured, the cost in dollars, the political capital spent, or the injury to the reputation of the US throughout the world. Big mistake that was.

But the mistake of the Iraq war doesn't justify making another mistake with "national healthcare." That's a disaster waiting to happen. And unfortunately, it looks like the Democratic presidential candidates are hitching their futures to those proposals, which can only be a plan for failure, either at the polls or during an actual implementation. At least Clinton should know better, having battled that beast once before.

RE: Newsflash
By Murst on 10/2/2007 5:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think any candidate is proposing a comprehensive (as in, pays for everything) health care package. I don't think that exists in any country in the world, actually. So, in the same way you're paying extra for education, you'd have to pay for health care. Its still better than what we have now, I think.

Just imagine though if you had to pay 15k a year (or more, who knows how much it'd really cost) for sending your kids from 1st to 12th grade (I realize some people do that already, but they're the huge minority).

RE: Newsflash
By TomZ on 10/2/2007 7:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well, someone has to pay for all this new healthcare that's being proposed. Unless the treasury is going to just print more money, it's probably going to have to be funded by additional tax revenues from taxpayers. That means that I'll effectively be paying for some other family's healthcare in addition to mine. I'm not going to be talked into that - never. You'll need to send someone to my house with a gun to make me pay - oh yeah, that's what they do now - I forgot.

My property taxes already exceed the average cost spent per child in our school district, not surprisingly. And the amount is nowhere near $15K/year.

RE: Newsflash
By mdogs444 on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Newsflash
By Murst on 10/3/2007 2:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
If you aren't sure, I really hope you do not vote.

If I forced myself to be sure about every issue a candidate stands for, there'd be no one left on the ballot.

Not to mention I don't see how you can be sure about a candidate anyways. Half the time they renig on promisses, the other half they give no details on implementation, and in the third half they forget about the issues they brought up during campaigning.

RE: Newsflash
By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 6:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
Thats why there are political parties. Left wing and right wing parties are pretty much split on many main issues - abortion, gay marriage, welfare, etc.

The candidates themselves have ideas on how to approach what the party they represent believes in, not telling their party what to believe in.

Every democratic candidate wants a universal healthcare system, or they would not be sponsored by the democratic party.

Every replublican candidate does not want a universal healthcare system, or they would not be sponsored by the republican party.

Its quite easy to do research on what each candidates stand on each issue is.

Of course there are always exceptions - like Guliani for example. He is replublican, but some of his views are democratic - like his views on abortion and gay issues. Some consider his as far left on the republican meter as you can get.

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