A report in this morning's USA Today tells how these three carriers secretly provided to the NSA the phone call records of tens of millions of people — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime.
These companies apparently have no qualms about betraying customer trust -- or breaking federal law.
According to the report. Section 222 of the Communications Act, prohibits companies from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination, and who calls in to the number. When asked about their potentially illegal handover of this personal information, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth declined to comment, citing “national security matters.”
Now they are asking Congress to strip away Net Neutrality protections so they can become benevolent overlords of the World Wide Web.
Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs thinks you should. Earlier this week, he swore up and down that the telephone giant would never deny consumers access to what they want on the Internet. Tauke said that doing so would be "akin to Starbucks hatching a plan to secretly serve customers Folgers crystals."
We're not talking about coffee, Tom. Internet freedom is not a commodity for Verizon's to sell off to the highest bidder. The only thing that Verizon is "secretly serving customers" is a lie about improved choices and innovation. And they're asking Congress to pass a law that allows them to become gatekeepers to the information superhighway.
Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth maintain networks that reach into the homes and businesses of tens of millions of Americans. These companies built this access to our private lives -- and the billions in revenues that come with it -- on a “bedrock principle” of consumer protection.
Now, that they’ve sold out this trust to help the government monitor ordinary Americans, how credible are their claims that no Net Neutrality safeguards are necessary?
Folks, this is a free market and we have a choice. This story broke on May 11, and as of May 12 I am no longer a customer of AT&T or Verizon. I did not have any problem finding alternatives to people who were selling my phone records to the Bush administration. If you agree with me, change your phone service! Many areas are served by multiple companies these days. If you have broadband, consider Vonage or a similar service. There is no need to put up with such a betrayal by the phone companies.
Is that really a soloution in the end, or does it just make us feel better since resellers like Vonage are still using the lines which the Bigs control?
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