AT&T has come a long way from the supernormative, feel-good messages of its You Will ads; now CEO Randall Stephenson predicts a future where his company will dynamically alter your TV ads based on what it thinks you will buy; and chase you with that ad from your TV to your computer to your phone, and then spy on your location to see whether you go to a retailer to buy the thing you've had advertised to you; and use that intelligence to command high advertising rates from advertisers. Read the rest
Without generous financial support of six companies (AT&T, Eli Lily, Walmart, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and Aetna), the politicians who are enacting bans on legal, safe abortion would not have attained office; these companies don't fund these politicians because they want women to die; they fund them because they're indifferent to the death of women, provided that they get tax breaks and other favorable treatment -- the garden variety get the turkeys to vote for Christmas strategy that exchanges unlimited oligarchy for performative acts of grotesque cruelty against brown people, sexual minorities and (of course) women. Read the rest
In 2017, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson campaigned for Trump's massive tax-cuts by promising that they would create 7,000 jobs with the $3,000,000,000 they stood to gain, as well as investing in new infrastructure: instead, the company has reduced its headcount by 23,328 workers (6,000 in the first three months of 2019!) while reducing capital expenditures by $1.4B (AT&T reduced capex by another $900m in Q1/2019). Read the rest
The DOJ has indicted three former Verizon and AT&T employees for alleged membership in a crime-ring known as the "The Community"; the indictment says the telco employees helped their confederates undertake "port-out" scams (AKA "SIM-swapping" AKA "SIM hijacking"), which allowed criminals to gain control over targets' phone numbers, thereby receiving SMS-based two-factor authentication codes. Read the rest
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
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
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 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:
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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.
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
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
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
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
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