Leak reveals that hundreds of bounty hunters have had access to super-fine-grained mobile location data for years

After a blockbuster report in Motherboard revealed that bounty hunters were able to buy realtime location data that originated with three of the four major cellular carriers (the exception is Verizon), the carriers scrambled to spin the news, insisting that the bounty hunter access represented a recent, small-scale aberration, but a new set of leaks reported on in Motherboard reveals that the practice has gone on for years, at industrial scale, and that the resellers who supplied bail bondsmen and other unsavory types in secret have changed names, but are still in business. Read the rest

Why the hell do we continue to believe the carriers' promises to respect our privacy?

There have been several attempts to force the US telcoms industry to respect our privacy: to stop our ISPs from spying on us and selling our usage data to marketers, to stop the mobile carriers from spying on our location and selling the data to marketers (and, it turns out, stalkers and bounty hunters), and every attempt has fizzled, as telcoms lobbyists and telcoms-funded lawmakers have sold us out, saying that the privacy rules are unnecessary because the carriers wouldn't do anything too sketchy lest they suffer reputational damage. Read the rest

Trump gave AT&T a $20B tax break and killed Net Neutrality, now they're prepping mass layoffs

The same year that Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed broadband privacy and cheated Network Neutrality to death, the Trump tax plan delivered a $20B windfall to AT&T -- both Trump and Pai claimed that the measures would stimulate the economy and trickle down to the rest of us. Read the rest

AT&T's fake 5Ge network

AT&T has added a "5Ge" symbol to several phones from Samsung and LG, misleading customers into thinking they have something special. There is no 5Ge network, it is LTE.

The Verge reports:

AT&T has updated three smartphones from Samsung and LG to make them show 5G connectivity logos, even though none of them are capable of connecting to 5G networks.

Now, when the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, or LG V40 are connected to portions of AT&T’s LTE network that have received some speed-boosting updates, they’ll show an icon that says “5G E” instead of “LTE.”

That “E” in the “5G” logo is supposed to tip you off that this isn’t real 5G — just some marketing nonsense. But there’s no way of knowing that just from looking at the logo. The “E” is smaller than the rest of the icon. And even if you do learn that “5G E” stands for “5G Evolution,” it isn’t immediately clear what that means.

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AT&T disconnects whole families from the internet because someone in their house is accused of copyright infringement

It's been five years since America's super-concentrated telcoms sector announced their "voluntary Copyright Alert system" (AKA Six Strikes), a system that said that if your someone in your household was accused of six acts of copyright infringement, everyone in your house would get the internet death penalty, having your net connection terminated. Read the rest

Carriers to FCC: Americans would totally be happy with throttled, capped wireless at home instead of home fiber

Every year, the FCC checks in with the industry it nominally regulates to see whether broadband deployment is going well; if it determines that Americans are getting the internet they need, then it can legally shrug off its duty to regulate the carriers and force them to step up the pace. Read the rest

AT&T stands to make $800,000,000 more by sneakily tripling a bullshit "administrative fee"

When the DoJ greenlit the merger of AT&T and Time-Warner, they blessed a union that would see one of technology's most notorious monopolists get even bigger, with the presumption that scaling up to unimaginable size would curb a terrible company's worst abuses. Read the rest

Justice Dept. won't block AT&T purchase of Time Warner, mega-merger can proceed

Monopoly season is open, and Net Neutrality just died. The Justice Department will not try to stop AT&T from purchasing Time Warner, and the companies are now free to close their deal. The government may yet appeal a ruling on its antitrust lawsuit against the ultra-giga-mega-merger. Read the rest

A data-broker has been quietly selling realtime access to your cellphone's location, and they suck, so anyone could get it for free

Last week, the New York Times revealed that an obscure company called Securus was providing realtime location tracking to law enforcement, without checking the supposed "warrants" provided by cops, and that their system had been abused by a crooked sheriff to track his targets, including a judge (days later, a hacker showed that Securus's security was terrible, and their service would be trivial to hack and abuse). Read the rest

AT&T to the Supreme Court: "Fuck the FTC"

Back when the anti-Net-Neutrality was pretending to have anything like an argument (apart from, "NETWORK NEUTRALITY INTERFERES WITH MY ABILITY TO BECOME LIMITLESSLY RICH, GO FUCK YOURSELF), one of the stupid pieces of spaghetti they threw at the wall was, "The FCC shouldn't regulate telcos, that's the FTC's job." Read the rest

Lobbyist for AT&T and Verizon publishes a threat to "aggressively" sue any states that pass net neutrality laws

Jonathan Spalter is the CEO of Ustelecom, a telcoms lobby group funded by AT&T and Verizon; in an op-ed on the lobbyists' site, he threatened to "aggressively" sue any state that passes net neutrality rules. Read the rest

AT&T's 1993 "You Will" ads, the rightest wrong things ever predicted about the internet

In 1993, AT&T ran a series of ads trumpeting the future of the internet, called "You Will." Read the rest

Why we should cheer the DoJ's lawsuit to block the AT&T/Time-Warner merger

Susan Crawford, one of America's leading scholars of monopolism, competition and the tech industry, has an outstanding article in Wired laying out the principled case for killing the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, which the Trump DoJ has just filed a lawsuit to block. Read the rest

AT&T: it's not "forced arbitration" because no one forced you to have broadband

AT&T, which has successfully lobbied state governments and the FCC to ban any broadband competition in the markets where it operates, says that its forced arbitration "agreements" aren't really forced, because people in the markets it serves could just not use the internet. Read the rest

Projecting leaked NSA docs on the side of AT&T's windowless NYC spy-center

Earlier this month, Henrik Moltke helped report the extent to which the massive, windowless, bombproof AT&T tower at 33 Thomas Street was implicated in illegal NSA surveillance of US and international communications, revealing that the tower was almost certainly the site referred to as TITANPOINTE in Snowden docs. Read the rest

What's inside the windowless AT&T/NSA spying hub in lower Manhattan?

The windowless, 550'-tall AT&T tower at 33 Thomas Street in lower Manhattan is the building referred to as TITANPOINTE in the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, and was likely the staging point for the NSA's BLARNEY operation, which illegally spied upon communications to and from "International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Bank of Japan, the European Union, the United Nations, and at least 38 different countries, including U.S. allies such as Italy, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, and Cyprus." Read the rest

AT&T developed a "product" for spying on all its customers and made millions selling it to warrantless cops

AT&T's secret "Hemisphere" product is a database of calls and call-records on all its customers, tracking their location, movements, and interactions -- this data was then sold in secret to American police forces for investigating crimes big and small (even Medicare fraud), on the condition that they never reveal the program's existence. Read the rest

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