AT&T snowjob: We won't cut you off for criticizing us, but we won't put it in writing

This weekend, several sites blogged about AT&T's new terms of service, which reserve the right to terminate your Internet account for conduct that "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." In other words, AT&T's user-agreement gives them the right to cut you off if you criticize them.

Now, several sites have been contacted by an AT&T rep who has said that while AT&T's terms of service allow them to do this, they won't — they'll only cut you off if you're looking at child porn or advocating race-violence.


If AT&T sincerely doesn't ever intend on cutting you off for criticizing them, they can amend their terms of service to say exactly that. It's not as though the legalese came off a mountain on two stone tablets and changing them counts as blasphemy.

AT&T's representatives can issue statements that say that they'll only cut you off if you turn out to be Josef Mengele, blogging from behind your secret identity in the Argentine campos, but unless they actually put it in writing, it means exactly squat. They wouldn't get you to "agree" to their Terms of Service if they didn't envision a time when they might use them.