Karl Bode, Vice:
After successfully lobbying to kill net neutrality and broadband privacy protections, the company this week took out a full page ad (embedded below) in papers ranging from the New York Times to the Washington Post. In it, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson insists AT&T is so concerned about consumer welfare, it’s backing a new effort for an “internet bill of rights.”
In just the last few years, the company has been fined $18.6 million for helping rip off programs for the hearing impaired; fined $10.4 million for ripping off a program for low-income families; and fined $105 million for helping “crammers” by intentionally making fraudulent charges more difficult to see on customer bills.
This is the same company that also charged broadband subscribers more money simply to protect their own privacy, was caught ignoring drug dealers running a directory assistance scam, and has repeatedly been busted violating net neutrality.
Consumers certainly do need a “bill of rights” to protect them from the business-as-usual actions of AT&T and its competitors. For that reason, they shouldn’t get to write the law. Their lobbyists are hard at work getting representatives like Marsha Blackburn to introduce favourable legislation, and that’s why Americans need to speak up, and speak loudly. A collective voice that will not tolerate the loss of net neutrality is something a congressperson isn’t eager to fight.