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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 mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 8:15:59 PM , Rating: 0
I don't think any candidate is proposing a comprehensive (as in, pays for everything) health care package.

Where the hell have you been? Clinton, Edwards, Obama? They may not pay for everything because some people have jobs that help pay their insurance...but it gives them control over everything - including more of my hard earned money to take care of someone else, while i have to lower my standard of living.

So, in the same way you're paying extra for education, you'd have to pay for health care.

We do pay for our childrens school. Its called taxes.

Its still better than what we have now, I think.

If you aren't sure, I really hope you do not vote. Universal healthcare systems only work WHEN YOU ARE NOT SICK! Sure, Canadians love their healthcare system....until they get sick, then they come to AMERICA!

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.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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