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Long after this week's surveillance firestorm erupted, the White House has finally seen fit to grace the public with some justifications for their wholesale secret spying on pretty much everyone, everywhere, all the time. In a speech (full video here
), Obama effectively stated that spying on such a ridiculous scale is a "critical" tool in the country's arsenal, and that both
of the programs
exposed in more detail this week were approved by Congress, and therefore perfectly ok.
...no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are.
-Barack Obama, 2007
"These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006," said the President, adding that "your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing."
Except said duly elected representatives should have voted down the program if they had an ounce of respect for liberty, privacy, and the will of their non-corporate constituents. There's a reason Congress has such a dismal approval rating and the vast majority of the country considers them a bunch of blithering, bickering, incompetent dolts
Users in our Canadian broadband forums
claim to have stumbled into what appears to be an identity theft and scam outfit posing as bogus ISPs in order to swindle users out of installation deposits and personal information. The alleged scam first came to light when users noticed a Canadian ISP by the name of "Cable Gator" offering users 200 Mbps service in regions that can't get those speeds.
Back in April we noted
that AT&T was imposing a new $0.61 "Mobility Administrative Fee" on all postpaid wireless subscriber bills. According to AT&T's website, the sneaky fee "helps defray certain expenses AT&T incurs," though like AT&T's equally nonsensical "regulatory recovery fee," those expenses should be included in the cost of doing business, and not buried beneath the line.
As I've been discussing a lot lately
(because it's the most important issue facing the broadband sector right now), both AT&T and Verizon are in the process of gutting regulations that require they continue offering copper landlines -- and by proxy DSL -- to tens of millions of Americans. Both companies insist that they're simply interested in "modernizing regulations" and ushering us into an "all IP age." In reality, both companies simply want to exit the fixed-line market in areas they're unwilling to upgrade.
Back in January, former FCC boss turned cable's top lobbyist Michael Powell finally acknowledged that caps on fixed-line broadband networks weren't actually about congestion
-- after the cable industry spent much of the last decade arguing caps were all about congestion. Powell did continue perpetuating the myth that caps and overages were about fairness, when most people at this point realize it's simply about driving up the price of data a.
because a lack of competition allows it and b.
to offset inevitable TV revenue losses to Internet video.
The New Republic story continues..
notes that one of the cornerstones of the GOP's technology agenda being firmed up at the convention this week (aside from censoring porn
, opposing net neutrality and further eliminating consumer protections) is "spectrum reform." The New Republic
argues that spectrum reform in GOP parlance is really just code for taking any and all spectrum you can find and selling it to AT&T and Verizon, so they can squat on it and prevent additional competitors from entering the marketplace (aka protectionism).
In addition to just throwing money at the GOP
, the incumbents and the GOP sell the idea of further protecting the nation's duopoly from competition by insisting they're just super
concerned about bringing broadband to rural users.
Dish is already in hot water with the FTC for ignoring the Do Not Call Registry
, and now the satellite carrier's mailers are causing some additional annoyance for consumers. The Consumerist
points out how the company is also sending consumers a mailer with the words "INSTALLATION NOTICE," along with a specific "Appointment No." listed on the front. The additional message of "welcome to the DISH family" on the back tricks customers into thinking they've already been signed up for service, prompting them to call in to Dish. As some Consumerist
commenters note such ads are all too common, with so many mail spam these days dressed up as official correspondence designed to catch the eye. However, letting customers know you're dishonest right off the bat doesn't seem like a winning brand strategy.
by Revcb Monday 14-May-2012
by Revcb Thursday 05-Apr-2012
by Revcb Friday 23-Mar-2012
Since around 2004
we've talked about the significant amount of fraud involved in the government's IP Relay service, which is intended to help the hearing impaired communicate with phone users via the Internet with the help of paid transcription workers. Unfortunately, for the better part of a decade the service has been abused by scammers and other assorted technoscumbags, with carriers doing nothing about it because they're paid by the FCC (aka you) about $1.50 per minute to carry this traffic.
by Revcb Friday 16-Mar-2012
by Revcb Monday 12-Mar-2012
by Revcb Thursday 23-Feb-2012
As we've been discussing lately, there's many people who like to insist we're always facing an unavoidable "capacity crisis"
that never arrives. If you find someone engaging in capacity scare mongering, they're usually selling hardware (Cisco, Sandvine), bad anti-competitive policy and high price justifications (carrier lobbyists), or eager to make a buck off of spectrum auctions (FCC).
by Revcb Tuesday 03-Jan-2012
by Revcb Tuesday 13-Dec-2011
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