Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AT&T -- Ruler of airwaves. Seriously, they now own it all.

The fat cats keep getting fatter, the mega-corporations keep expanding and choices for the consumer continue to dwindle. AT&T, the behemoth that keeps on gobbling up all it sees with no interference from government agencies, has just announced a deal they have worked out with Aloha Partners that will give them access to a massive block of wireless spectrum. The move will position AT&T in a way that they will now be the provider of 700Mhz for 196 million people. The deal is subject to regulatory approval but let’s face the facts, the feds are going to give AT&T anything they want.

The Chairman of the FCC, Keith Martin, has officially announced that they will not investigate AT&T on grounds that they illegally allowed the NSA to spy on Americans. The reasoning behind this is the stereotypical “National security” bullshit and lies. Of course the Telco spy scandal is a massive and multi-layered story that is being well covered by some media sources but woefully understated by the major media outlets. The old “National Security” line has been abused for a long time by the current sociopaths in DC but reports from yesterday cleared the air even more on this subject.

Remember the recent Osama Bin Laden video? The one where an obvious imposter was employed? Well, it appears that the White House once again threw intelligence national security down the toilet by releasing the video to Fox News long before giving copies to the law enforcement and intelligence agencies and in the process destroyed the network access capabilities of SITE Intelligence Group. How many fools are left to believe this administration when they have been caught so many times in lies?

This of course harkens back to the Plame affair, The Military Commissions Act of 2006, Patriot Acts I and II, the suspension of Posse Comitatus with the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007…all just a long line of enabling this administration with the keys to the nation. To return to AT&T, of course the federal agencies that oversee the Telco’s like AT&T will allow them to do whatever they wish. They are letting the NSA peer into the raw voice and data streams, unfettered. The return for this ultra risky maneuver is free run of the candy store.

What AT&T has risked is their very lifeblood. In sane times, with sane leaders and a sane judiciary; AT&T would be liable for being a part of the largest breach of privacy and un-Constitutional behavior known to the American public. Since AT&T, and the companies they have purchased since 2001, maintain almost complete control over the voice and data networks every American uses, their liability would be to virtually every American man, woman and child who has spoken on the phone, emailed or surfed the web since 2001.

The civil suits are queued up and the Telco’s are pushing the halls of Congress with a passion to get a free pass, a legal written in law pass, for their digressions against the American public and their very own customers. Yet this level of power isn’t enough. They want more power, more bandwidth and more money. The government is all too happy to comply with their desires and allow them to expand, unchecked, as long as they keep that stream open for them.
Adding to this power grab are two recent issues of censorship by AT&T. The first was a blatant editing of a live concert streamed by AT&T of the band Pearl Jam. At one point in the performance lyrics critical of President Bush were cut out. When the issue was publicly spoken about and word began to spread, AT&T, of course, blamed a contractor for censoring on content. However, a recent change to the Terms of Service that customers of AT&T must follow states that they can completely sever your communications links if at any time you criticize AT&T. In other words, this is the fallout of the Pearl Jam censorship case. AT&T has decided to kill the messenger and the message.

Every day, at every step of the way, we are being watched, analyzed and categorized by our government. They took Nineteen Eighty-Four and looked at it as a wet dream, a template, for the future. Since most of us are familiar with the story even if not all of us have read the novel, can we break their plans and refuse to be their Winston Smith?

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