New York City makes all prisoner calls free

The City of New York has declared that all calls from its city jails will henceforth be free; meaning the city will forego the $5,000,000 it took from prisoners and their families every year. Read the rest

UK regulators ban lies in ISP ads, advertised speeds drop by 41%

The UK Committees of Advertising Practice changed the rules for ISP advertising: where once the ISPs could advertise speeds of "Up to" some incredibly high number so long as 10% of customers ever achieved that speed, now ISPs can only advertise a speed promise if 51% of their customers attain that speed at all times. Read the rest

Fraudsters offers thousands to low-waged telco employees for help with SIM Swap scams

SIM Swapping is a powerful form of fraud in which criminals convince the phone company to switch your phone number to a SIM they control; once they have your phone number, they can bypass the SMS-based two-factor authentication protecting your cryptocurrency wallets, social media accounts, and other valuable systems. Read the rest

Your phone company's shitty security is all that's standing between you and total digital destruction

Online services increasingly rely on SMS messages for two-factor authentication, which means on the one hand that it's really hard to rip you off without first somehow stealing your phone number, but on the other hand, once someone diverts your SMS messages, they can plunder everything Read the rest

Comcast's $1.2b/year modem-rental scam picks your pocket, then exposes you to hackers, stalkers and identity thieves

For most of a century, AT&T ripped off its customers by requiring them to rent their phones, meaning that over the life of your phone subscription, you would buy your phone thousands of times over. Read the rest

Cable industry attains the impossible: makes Americans hate it even more

Comcast is America's perennial most hated company, so it's hard to imagine how it could get even less popular, but you've got to give the company credit: on the way to growing to never-seen size and profitability, it continues to lead its ever-more-unpopular industry in customer dissatisfaction! Read the rest

Ajit Pai: portrait of a Vichy nerd who transformed from debating-society darling to thin-skinned, brooding manbaby

Andrew Rice's long profile of neutracidal FCC chairman Ajit Pai paints a portrait of a genuine nerd who really loves the ways the internet let him escape his small-town life, who really dotes on memes and Star Wars, and who threw fun parties when he was a young man -- and who is a textbook bootlicker, convinced that corporations will save America from the tyranny of government overreach, and who decided that if Trump was the way to get there, he would carry water for Trump. Read the rest

Comcast charges you $90 to "install" cable in houses that are already wired by Comcast

If you move into a new place and start service from Comcast -- increasingly the only way to get internet service in many places -- the company will often charge you a $90 installation fee, even if the previous occupants had already installed Comcast service, and even if you buy and set up your own modem. 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

Comcast: if you don't subscribe to cable TV, we won't sell you high-speed internet

Comcast has found a new way to stem "cord-cutting" (cutting off your cable TV subscription in favor of subscription services like Netflix, or, as in my case, in favor of giving up on watching TV altogether); in markets where they are a monopoly or duopoly, they will reserve their highest-speed internet offerings for customers who agree to pay extra for cable channels that they don't want or need -- if all you want is internet access, Comcast will relegate you to its slow lanes. Read the rest

100 US Mayors sign a pledge to boycott ISPs that commit Net Neutrality violations

As states pass a wave of laws barred non-neutral ISPs from providing services to state agencies, more than 100 US mayors have pledged to disqualify non-neutral ISPs from getting city contracts as well. Read the rest

T-Mobile fined $40m for scamming rural users with Potemkin ring-tones

T-Mobile didn't want its rural users to know how shitty its service was, so when the company couldn't connect a call, it would play fake "ring tones" to the caller that made it sounds like the person on the other end wasn't picking up. It did this "hundreds of millions of times" per year. Read the rest

Between Trump, Ajit Pai and a GOP Congress, there's never been a better time for a terrible Sprint/T-Mobile merger

One of the factors that makes the Net Neutrality fight so urgent is how little competition there is in the telcoms sector; it -- like the whole modern economy is dominated by a few giant, top-heavy firms that are gobbling one another at speed. Read the rest

Even the telco industry thinks Ajit Pai is an asshole for maiming Lifeline, a broadband subsidy for poor Americans

Ronald Reagan created the Lifeline program, which gives low-income Americans a $9.25/month subsidy to spend on one of: landline, broadband, or wireless access. Read the rest

Help crowdfund the Harlem Cryptoparty and 100 unlimited, privacy-protecting wifi hotspots for Puerto Rico

Calyx is an amazing nonprofit, privacy-oriented activist ISP (they were the first ISP to successfully resist a secret Patriot Act warrant); they are notable for offering an unlimited, unfiltered, unthrottled 4G/wifi hotspot for a tax-deductible $400 year (mine has repeatedly saved my bacon). Read the rest

You know who does creepier stuff with your data than Cambridge Analytica? Your ISP

Chances are, your ISP has been repeatedly caught sucking up all your clicks, and also chances are that it's a de facto arm of the US spy network, making bank selling your data to the NSA; AT&T has proposed charging you hundreds of dollars extra a year not to spy on you; Comcast wants to do the same. Read the rest

Big Telco hates "regulation," but they love their billions in government handouts

When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco's major talking point is that "government regulation" has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation's telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare. Read the rest

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